Artist Kit Lynch's invitation to show her work at the Taos Art Museum came "out of the blue," according to the painter, and "took weeks to sink in." The day she got the call from …
Artist Kit Lynch's invitation to show her work at the Taos Art Museum came "out of the blue," according to the painter, and "took weeks to sink in."
The day she got the call from Christy Schoedinger Coleman, executive director of the museum, she was in Albuquerque visiting an acquaintance who didn't know she was an artist. She showed the woman an image of Blue Buffalo, titled "Dust the Earth Bison," and said "now this one is a museum-quality piece." Hours later, same day, Lynch got a call from Schoedinger Coleman who said Lynch's work "evokes joy, her canvases are immense [and] a solo show just made sense." Lynch responded, "In my wildest dreams I never thought I would get an unsolicited invitation like that."
Lynch's exhibition, "Out of the Blue: Animals to Abstracts," went on view Tuesday (March 12) but its opening reception is planned Saturday (March 16) from 2-4 p.m. in the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, 227 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.
Lynch describes the show as "a kind of reemergence for me. I have been away, in a manner of speaking, on a journey my body has imposed on me. While it was difficult not to produce the amount of works I would have wanted or expected, I learned great lessons, valuable lessons."
A visit to the Clyfford Still Museum in Denver inspired the abstracts in the show. She was not a fan of abstract work before; however, that changed at the exhibit of Still's work which, moved her as a "distillation of emotion regarding his upbringing in a brutal agricultural existence from representational to pure abstract."
The theme of animals in her work has been a constant, reflecting the Pilar community along the Río Grande in which she lives, rich with the opportunity for wildlife encounters. "I have always been crazy about animals of all kinds," she said. "The other day a female Western Tanager stunned itself by flying into a window. I held it in my hand for a long time talking to it while stroking its head. After it revived, it stayed in my hand while I made a couple sketches and then flew off. Another time I was hiking up a ridge while a herd of 20 elk, from bulls to youngsters, walked up a parallel ridge 40 feet away. I felt a part of them as they didn't react, and I was in full view, so up we went. It was glorious."
Lynch said nature "inspires and grounds" her. "Even the abstracts in the show are inspired by natural flora, and they have a more organic feel to them."
Although a former Chicagoan, Lynch maintained, "I always felt the West was home, especially Northern New Mexico. I would be hard pressed to find such a huge variety of landscape and culture. It feeds my soul and leads me with endless inspiration."
She said she feels an inherent need to be close to natural beauty. "It is crazy what we see every day in the Land of Enchantment, and Pilar is in the heart of all that. Bears, deer, elk, raccoons, eagles, bighorn sheep, Pilar attracts more wildlife than many places because it is the first little valley where the Río Grande comes out of the gorge. It is said the negative ions produced by the tumbling water within the walls of the gorge [are] the same thing you feel in the air after a lightning storm, [how they] wash out over our village and inspire creativity. I'm so blessed being here."
The Taos Art Museum show has a few surprises for people who know only her landscape and animal work.
"I have three of my charcoal portraits in this show," she said. "I don't think I have shown much of my figurative work in Taos before and most people don't relate me to this kind of work."
In Chicago, she said she was a portrait artist. "I started my serious work studying the figure at the American Academy of Art because it seems to be the best way to train your eye to see in terms of all the art basics, shape, form, line, values, instead of leg, head, eye. Since I lived in Chicago, I didn't have the wild landscapes or animals of the West to explore daily, which was my heart's calling. That is fortunate because that figurative training assisted me in expressing everything in the subjects that followed."
The time Lynch could not work was "an incubator for inner growth" where she "could study and expand [her] artistic influences and knowledge base."
During this time, she said she "correlated all my artistic notes, both from when I was a student, and as a teacher. I refreshed my knowledge of the figurative work because I was ready, after 20 years, to revisit it and expand upon it. All of this became a cohesive glowing thing that will feed me as I go forward on my artistic journey. And I will look for and be open to the 'out of the blue' directives that have guided me and occur in all of our lives."
"Out of the Blue: Animals to Abstracts" is on view through April. There is no charge for exhibits in the Fechin House. You can see the artist's work online at KitLynchArtist.com. Call the museum at (575) 758-2690.
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