Recontextualising the Familiar by Loraine Lynn
Graduate multidisciplinary artist Loraine Lynn or Loranitude has recontextualised everyday objects to challenge the concept of tradition and binary definitions within sociology. Redefining their place in space.
Tell us more about yourself and your practice.
My work deals with issues of identity and the implications of defining bodies. Those topics are explored through themes of labor and production, taking inspiration from factories, mass-production, and commodification. The idea of operating in an in-between space is a subject I frequently explore.
I use materials and methods that are “fluid,” such as glass, fiber, installation, and video. I recontextualize objects, actions, and materials through acts of repetition that render the familiar unfamiliar. This subversive act breaks the typical “scripts” these things follow in order to pose a question to the viewer. In my artistic practice I always come back to a particular question: what does it mean to be unnameable and is it possible? I am an interdisciplinary artist and educator based in Toledo, Ohio. Within my practice I explore issues of labor, identity, and the scripts that all of these follow. I earned my BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in Glass and Sculpture and completed my MFA in Three-dimensional studies at Bowling Green State
University. I have exhibited work nationally and internationally as well as curated exhibitions within the Toledo area. I am an instructor in Glass and Foundations at Bowling Green State University.
What was your creative process for this series or for your work in general?
This project is an ongoing investigation that drives my overall creative practice. It came into being during my time in graduate school, where I was really interested in the idea that identity is essentially a performance. I find it interesting that people and things can (and do) “misperform” and are able to escape conventional identification or naming. Being able to exist in an unnameable state or an in-between space fascinates me because of the adaptability that is possible there. My creative process is built on asking questions. Curiosity is a powerful motivator. I start by formulating a question that interests me, usually having to do with a subject I view as particularly relevant at the moment and go from there. I try to engage contemporary issues and trends that relate to social, political, and personal concerns to get the viewer thinking about the times we are currently experiencing. My goal is to get the audience to start asking their own questions,
which could potentially cause a shift in their thinking and get them to consider things in a different way.
What work inspires or has inspired you?
Some of my favourite artists are Eva Hesse, Louise Bourgeois, and Ana Mendieta because of their use of materials and innovations as women artists who worked in Sculpture. Recently I’ve been enjoying work by Anicka Yi because of her exploration of ephemerality and materials. Finally, Casey Jane Ellison’s (especially her “Touching the Art” video series) and Erwin Wurm’s works interest me because of their humor and how each of these artists blurs boundaries between disciplines and what can be considered material for works of art.
Are there any artistic movements you enjoy in particular and why?
I am really drawn to Dada and the Avant Garde because they are great examples of experimentation and artists acting as reactionaries and agents of change. I also really love Minimalism and how sculptors out of that period dealt with architecture and building materials such as glass. My undergraduate degree is in glass so I love seeing how the material was dealt with before the glass studio art movement happened in the United States in the 1960’s.
Do you have any opinions or ideals underlying your art?
Lately I’ve been questioning ideas of labor and skill within craft-based disciplines and beyond. I explore types of labor (physical, intellectual, emotional, etc) and their places in a hierarchy of value. From there I try to lead people to think about why one is considered more valuable than another and why that is. This is especially interesting now because of the advent of automation in our factories and services - ideas of human versus machine labor is one full of tension, which makes it interesting to talk about. Conversely, the idea of humans trying to mimic machines through acts of repetition in making and striving to create “perfect forms” is something I think about when creating work.
ou or eall nteresting! uestionin h alu efinin ame n itle or thing it unctiona alue. er ou’r evelopin ou dea h the culpture an orm. ha nspire o ak hi rtisti ubject?
Artistically I’ve always been drawn to working between disciplines and with many materials, despite having to choose a label for myself to make things easier (like glassblower, sculptor, etc). As I stated earlier, I like the idea of being able to operate in an in-between space because of the flexibility within that territory. I was also inspired to take on this subject because of its connection to social issues that are contemporarily relevant: the questioning of binaries when it comes to types of identities, differences in labor values, and the importance of questioning and challenging traditions.
Any words for aspiring artists?
Don’t get stuck on the history or materials of traditional photography. I think a lot of interesting work is coming from artists who push their practice and engage in what’s happening around them. Take into mind ideas of what is typically considered a photograph and turn it on its head - experiment and push boundaries!
Is there anything you’re currently working on?
Currently I’m working on a body of mixed media sculpture that is inspired by environments that are constantly under construction. I encounter so many of these sites on my daily commute. There’s lots of road construction and buildings being renovated in my area, so these landscapes, machines, and ideas of labor that happen within them are interesting to me.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Just wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my work with your audience and thank you for talking with me. To end this on a great note: I just got news that I have been invited to show work in the Ireland Glass Biennial, which opens in late October in Dublin. For more updates on my work and practice, you can visit my site: www.loranitude.com. Thank you again!