Review from Gapers Block
ART FRI OCT 09 2015 By S. Nicole Lane
Fragments of our mind are stitched together to form cohesive memories; the joy of noticing everyday tasks and celebrating them through visual connection, conversation and aesthetics, is the basis of Lynn Peters' sculptural and clay-based work.
Spontaneity Made Concrete, at the Lillstreet Art Center, focused on the narrative surrounding snapshots in life. Her works were mounted on the wall and featured animals, humans and forms that contributed to a collection of several planes that one exists on simultaneously. Additionally, Peters utilizes photography and text to activate the viewer and combine several media as a backdrop to the core of the sculptures. Stolen Moments is a large piece that displays four sculptures, each individually titled, Statue of Liberty, The Thinker, Mona Lisa, and Untitled, a ceramic self-titled sign, and a black-and-white photograph. The piece, in terms of subject matter and presentation, was the most experimental work in the exhibition and encapsulated the idea of imagination, fragmentation and a vision as a source of understanding.The image of the cart, which sits outside of the Ark Thrift Shop in Wicker Park, was the backdrop for the four sculptures on the wall. While the shop is filled with a plethora of clothing, furniture and an assortment of tchotchkes, Peters noted that the cart, outdated and torn, was a symbol for what the Ark is to the neighborhood. What existed inside the cart, similar to inside the Ark, was a mystery of the unknown, a mass of tattered cloth and last year's fashion trends.
Displayed on top of the photograph, on the wall, were clay portraits of the workers at the Ark, both men and women. By juxtaposing the photograph of a detail about the thrift shop and then choosing to illuminate several characters and workers from the store, Peters examines the everyday occurrences when passing by the space. Her portraits of the workers and her portrait of the store create visual fragments frozen in time. In several of her clay sculptures, such as in The Thinker, the artist captures the workers in mid-action. The Statue of Liberty subject is frozen, carrying a mattress as the bend and the crease of the springs and the material form around the workers' hands and limbs; the weight of the mattress is evident.
Peters' stylistic approach can be critiqued as realistic, though gritty and raw in form. The artist was able to convey a sense of movement and emotion through her aesthetic choices. The approach allows the clay portraits to exist like a memory--detailed but slightly faded, existing but fragmented. In the piece, Ambiguity and Paradox, the playful tones and muted hues, created a whimsical visual experience. The artist crafted two heads, from the nose up, on a white shelf, and additionally, sculptured a hen and a deer that rested on the figures' heads. Adjacent to the figures are the words "Ambiguity" and "Paradox," which evoked questions of reality and a distinction towards surrealist qualities. While Ambiguity and Paradox is one of the few pieces to not include photography, the piece works independently, and anchors the exhibition in terms of concept and craft.
By combining photography and clay, Lynn Peters expands the boundaries of traditional presentation and display in a gallery setting. The decision to conflate both media is a strong attribute to her oeuvre and to Spontaneity Made Concrete. Peters' interest in examining the commonplace and visually re-creating scenes from everyday life brings forth the conversation of reality, but with a twist. While the works in the exhibition were based upon actuality, Peters does a charming job of creating the sense of blur and confusion that memory can create--the obscure lines, the jagged edges and the simplicity of content were wonderfully displayed in the show, and made permanent by three-dimensionality.
Lynn Peters studied at Sheridan School of Design, New York State University at Alfred and Rutgers University. She is the author of "Surface Decoration for Low Fire Ceramics" and is a professor at Moraine Valley Community College where she teaches Sculpture, Ceramics and Design.
Lillstreet Art Center, located at 4401 N. Ravenswood Ave., was founded in 1975 and works as a supportive community for artists and students. Ceramics, metalsmithing, painting, printmaking, textiles, glass and photography are among the many classes that the art center offers.
Spontaneity Made Concrete was on view at Lillstreet Art Center from August 28 until October 4, 2015.