I got into a conversation last weekend with an artist from Washington, DC, at the Artist Project in Toronto. You’ve got to respect a woman who will make that kind of drive to spend the weekend on her feet while five and a half months pregnant. For Amy Lin’s first visit to the fair, and to Toronto, she exhibited an evolution of work relying on the creation of inherence in both execution and ideation.
The earliest works in her series show elemental forms- circles, waves- joined into patterns reflecting the organized chaos of circuitry, civilization or cellular activity. Every shape is meticulously shaded by hand using pencil crayon. When asked about the inspiration for her work, she told me a story about her mother giving her a stack of drawings from her childhood which showed many of the same patterns evident in her present work. “I don’t remember doing any of the drawings, but obviously I did… I mean my name was on them! I feel like I must have been born with these patterns as a part of me.”
Her exclusively manual production is the genesis of her conceptual interpretation of her work. She equates the subtle differences in each shape to the unique qualities possessed by individuals. She describes her process of working as “an organically evolving stream of consciousness.” It’s easy to picture her engaged in a meditative reverie of artistic reflection and soothing production.
Lin’s ruminations motivated her to begin working in layers. Overlapping panels conceal microcosmic excogitations unmasked through carefully cut openings. The tiny apertures birth juxtapositions of shape and colour, or as Lin describes them, “portals into the worlds of specific people.” As her series unfolds, spontaneity, humanity and individuation are further accented by precision-cut curled top layers at times reminiscent of European folk paper-cutting, which choreograph an ever-changing shadow-play.
Lin’s esoteric descriptions of her own work bely the decorative beauty innately attractive to most viewers.That said, it will be interesting to see how her reflections on the nature of being alter her work when a baby transforms her own existence. One wonders how her work will evolve when she is forced to examine her own world through the lens of heritable traits manifest in flesh, rather than paper.
For more of Lin’s work check out her website.