DANCE FOR ME, BUTTERCUP

By Gabriel Thy • Art Theory • 23 Apr 2008


L-R: Dana Ellyn, Matt Sesow, Chris Schott, Gary Gill, Sue Hedrick

SOME NOTIONS OF ART are strategic impulses which create a snapshot of reality seen through keen eyes, others seek to depict a healthy disregard of reality viewed through a lens of distorting fantasy. The key to understanding a work of art is understanding which of these two strategic impulses best satisfy the work. All the rest in window dressing.
—Gabriel Thy

“Still, I’ve had my reservations. Not so much on the eventual outcome, but rather the timing of it all. In Lin’s last show, I saw too much centered and seemingly static work that didn’t quite get up and dance for me. Shafts of brilliance are mixed with moments of weakness, as befits the process of artistic growth. At 29, Lin’s best work is most assuredly ahead of her.”

Artist and critic Kevin Mellema wrote the paragraph excerpted above in his essay for the Falls Church News-Press. Because this is a criticism I often level at my own work, I felt compelled to clip his words for my own present and future edification, even though my work, and the work of Amy Lin have absolutely nothing in common.

Additionally, from the Washington Post:

Amy Lin is infatuated with dots. “Hybrid,” a colored-pencil drawing that’s part of the artist’s show, “Amy Lin: Silence,” at Heineman Myers Contemporary Art, features almost 350 of the li’l devils, strewn across the paper in blue and green strings like strands of broken costume jewelry.

And that’s just a medium-size work. At nine feet tall, one picture, titled “Persuasion,” boasts—well, you count them; I started to get a headache when I tried.

That’s all the 28-year-old artist draws. A couple of years ago, when she was first starting out, Lin says she got a lot of “questionable comments” from folks who just didn’t get her chosen medium. Although her dot-based pictures can call to mind everything from microbes on a glass slide to Mardi Gras beads to an overhead shot of crowds milling on the Mall, they are almost stoic in their open-ended abstraction. So much so that her dealer, Zoe Heineman Myers, was discouraged by those closest to her from even giving the artist a solo show, Lin’s first in a commercial gallery.

Such misgivings may be starting to fade with the appearance of another kind of dot around Lin’s work these days: the little red ones traditionally used in galleries to show that a work has been sold. At press time, five of the 13 works on view had found buyers.

Eghads, the question of making and selling art in Washington, DC seems to have a simple answer. But I’ll keep that secret under my hat for a time.

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