Wednesday, June 25, 2008

amy lin's detailed dots: determined and exacting effort

If you've been traveling within the Washington DC art circles lately, there's no doubt you've encountered the fast rise of Amy Lin's pencil drawings. She had shown at the Heineman Myers Contemporary Art Gallery earlier this year just prior to exhibiting at The Art League from April - May 08. And when Lenny Campello knighted her works on his hot-and-buy-now-list, I had to see for myself. I was present at the April successful opening of "Interaction" where works Transition, Unknown, Sacrifice, Strength, Gentle, and Release were displayed in large works on the Art League's walls. Lin graciously sat down with me prior to the reception's start.

Lin credits Ms. Myers in helping the artist feel comfortable in initially showing about 13 works in Bethesda. Lin said that with Myers' encouragement, Lin felt that even if no one were to purchase a work, she would still feel comfortable doing her process exactly the way she currently does. And that process for Lin is abstract stream of consciousness. It's her own interpretation and her own sharing of a meditative and encompassing work which she says has manifested itself into making her feel sick if she's not drawing and adding to somewhat negative thoughts that Lin's squandering her life if a pencil is not in hand.

Lin explained that she most encounters creative blocks before the execution of her dots. When she has to select her color template, it feels like a committed choice to decide. The number of hours that go into a work represent a color commitment that cannot be changed half way through. Lin says her color choices represent her mood at the time of selection and that can be, at times, incongruent with the happiness she feels in execution of a final piece. In her quiet escape of her own world, she says that her primary interest is not that of occupation, but rather of avocation - and that she might not enjoy the process so much if she thought of it as a duty.

Whatever non-committal anxiety Lin expresses in color choice, she is gracious in pointing to Michael O'Sullivan who she credits with suggesting a change in framing choice to allow more room for her works. She thanks Randall Scott for a suggestion in working with bigger paper and varying paper qualities. Lin likes the DC art scene, and she does not view her works in a political light. She flinches a bit as she self-describes her efforts as introspective, peaceful, and introverted. She is self-taught and views that experience as carrying gifts of freedom.

Although Lin enjoys the exhibition process, and is surprisingly self-collected at such a normally nervous time prior to an opening, she does say that arts management and the business side of art can be a true challenge for artists who simply wish to create. When asked what advice she would give a young artist, she says, "do your own thing." She recalls a story from her high school days where a painting was reviewed by authority and Lin subsequently changed the work to comply. She says when she went back to look at the painting, she realized she had liked it all the better the way it originally was. She warns, "don't sacrifice your own ideas ... keep at it and keep doing it."

Lin hasn't painted since high school, her full-time professional position keeps her time for the dots at a commodity, especially when works can literally take thousands of hours. Lin is feeling the electrical charge as the gallery is filling up with people and she doesn't realize how luminescent she looks in her pink chiffon gown. Her eyes dart and I ask her finally, "what's the best part?" And she looks back calmly and answers, "how the colored pencils feel against the surface of the paper." Lovely.