Angela Lyn’s brush strokes sing from the canvas, at her Building Site exhibition, at the Protein Gallery in Shoreditch.
Jonathan Graham observes for TruthExcites.
LIKE A HISSING pylon transformer loop, spraying the ether over a wet landscape, his saxophone awakens the sound that rings from the painting. His own intra-corporal feedback — the essence of his conscious being — massages vision to sonic gusts.
The quantum wildness of unknown conduits echoes the wind-whipped twigs, as their soft-sheen photorealism carries us to quivering storms through a cosy, double-glazed hush.
“Jessie, you got the bamboo completely”.
Delighted, the artist is congratulating Jessie Bannister, her acclaimed saxophonist and transmedia collaborator.
“What is it that translated it for you, that you picked up…? You have never played it before!”.
He replies that he is a thinking musician.
He is also a feeling one: a human waterfall, whose sax’s Andean lilt cascades with the work of Angela Lyn — our featured artist, who talks to me just before the sax interpretation starts.
“Everything is part of one big world. Painting is a window to a whole world. All the pieces speak to each other.”
Her words swim unprompted from source, living her practice with the rooted energy of liberated conviction, held easily in her steady gaze.
She listens to her subjects, breathing their full feed: she once thought of the stars as holes — marrying Information Theory to childhood’s wide-angle instinct: starlight beams are channels of meaning-laden radiation, and thus holes, indeed, in the data-opaque, energetic void of black space.
Like the stars to history, each painting is a portal to Angela’s mind.
Evaporating much of the gallery’s rear wall into swaying space, a cedar triptych was the largest piece she had ever done: as she painted it, she was its passenger, as well as generator; moved by its soaring yet anchored weight, which sowed its seeds of visible being.
She stretches shape into space, sufficient for each frame to hum; a precise audio translation of her paint, found by her through brush-strummed conversation with the canvas — and beamed to her absorbing, relaying dancers.
Her inter-mark spaces are light-euphoric, and confidently vast.
The triptych’s two divisions are window bars, confirming the accessible depths of a real world beyond its plane — into which palpable Cartesian drama we are syphoned, as its leaf-whispered, chakra-spawned light breathes out. Our world is no longer the ultimate setting on which a mere illusion has been mounted; rather, it has become a chance platform for viewing another realm: ever present, occasionally visible.
Giddily, we drink the nacreous sky’s depth: it flies, empty beyond the needles; hugging us with the sureness of a trunk’s dusky weight behind — as did the recent lunar eclipse, when a maroon moon confirmed the sun’s balancing anchor on Earth’s light side.
At Angela’s opening performance, the cedars’ needle-bearing fractals cradle us, as their sway twists into her dancers’ sound-born tower, levered limbs playing ages of arboreal harmony. A raised hand catches a shimmered fanfare, as a trumpet’s other-worldly cry blows current; charging dancers with living boughs, and plunging mountain mists. Their canvas-magnetised moves are concept-quivering antennae: re-spinning the dreamt light that trembles from its painted reservoir — and firing gallery calm with spell-breaking voltage.
Arcing from medium to mind, the wave-chain throbs in surging reverse: ribbing us back, with inductive, turbocharged wheel-spin — and into Angela’s journey: from dancing primer on dazzling blank; through early inspiration and tangled doldrums — to final, gleaming crescendo.
Envelope by wave, her worlds spawn their twin peaks — and, thence, a lineage of spiral discourse.
“I am a bystander in my paintings. Finishing them is like leaving a hotel room”.
Its chord cut, her thought is born, ringing with a humility that captivates. Integrity blows the scree-felled gusts of slate-black mountainsides, their scale giving them perilous life. Immersion plants the colossal, convex girth of a shadowy, darkwood trunk: it towers skywards, far beyond its letterbox frame.
Her dancing brushwork sometimes grows outwith her control: sidewinding voice to hitherto mute flux.
Twilight moors slide us across cloud-lit aeons; back to our first, pre-walking journeys, when life was weightless, and wonder, free. Night-ivy lowers our musky, tree-rooted sleep to new worlds — and to the building site’s sun-beaten muscle, its pneumatic, chain-sinewed grace tattooing the seasons, cold to hot; nature and thought both freed by their accountability only to gravity’s life-propelling truth — without the frigid falseness of neurotic hierarchy.
“Building Site’s” vibrational sensuality zaps confused vogue snobbery. Its high harmonics are pinball-distilled by human interaction, where the percussive, pop-sculpted earthiness of the building site bears, visibly, the beauty of its common origin with a tree’s bark — spiralled by life, not law.
She is pleased that I feel this fusion: profundity from the instinctive prizing of subconscious concept resonance over the ephemeral mores of the 2015 art world.
She almost raps the “mechanical ballet” of construction, living its terpsichorian power, with a spontaneity that confirms its genitive truth.
As George Michael memorably sang, “Guilty feet have got no rhythm”.
But this show beats palpably — with perception as with scene.
Warm half-tints shade a hillside deep burgundy — yet still light enough to host cool, roosting branch silhouettes. The work is “emoto-real” and memory-deep, its coloured mood recalling infantile, pre-language vision: unpixilated by simplistic codes, and resonating with mystically high resolution.
Yet, these aural fathoms are “tightropes”, and easily lost.
“It is intimidating going into the studio, especially in the crucial, exploratory, developmental first stage.
I mention the electric power of acrylic — but she loves oil: “it does things on its own — it wants to be listened to”. She remembers the pale blood pain of a stretching, diluted-pink sky, that took all her will, and consciousness, to create.
Her voyage-born work remains dogma-free: it is made, shown and felt — not stated. It is internal journalism: listening, finding, re-diffusing. Honest, euphoric discovery inspires her technical prowess; the latter too often overlooked now, amid the fashion for raw concept that celebrates visual naivety with talent-flattening puritanism.
Darkness slides to light with tranquil dazzle. A fuming mountain side floats us back to the pineal dreams of infancy.
Soft, needle-green unlocks the hypothalamus’ scented memory — washing us in breath that talks, without imaginary hurry’s bullying turbulence.
She worries that young artists’ economic need for fast recognition jams the necessarily slow process of self-understanding; encouraging thought-tribal, conformist work, which courts immediate status — not ultimate expression.
“Aim high, longterm.”
We listen to the wind that she whistles.
“Instinct is interest”, she goes on, alluding to the subliminally quick reason that is intuition.
Spontaneity is intrinsically truthful, and thus exposes laboured illusions. Angela’s practice sprays mutually verifying depth and energy: searching, then shining.
Even when silent, her musicians drink her dancers’ moves, scent-charging their next breath.
“Building Site” is a fearless public meditation: wave-borne, thought-refracted, and eternally played — for as long as life flows.