Lynn McCarty: What They Are

April 26 — June 2, 2012

The next exhibition at Nancy Hoffman Gallery, “What They Are,” will be new oil paintings on aluminum panels by Lynn McCarty, opening on April 26th and continuing to June 2nd. Created over the last four years these abstract works continue the artist’s interest in “simple things”: edges, color, line, shape and space. McCarty builds elusive space through a vibration between opacity and transparency. The combination of universal painting considerations with the artist’s personal dichotomies (thick-thin, minimal-cluttered, soft-hard, bright-subtle) constitutes her unique coda. In this coda McCarty finds beauty, challenge, harmony, while never eschewing the opportunity for awkwardness or acidity, eager for a range of visual impact.

McCarty’s paintings range in scale from 12x12 to 60x60 inches. In each format she explores the dialogue of form within the parameters of the panel with command and grace. While she approaches each piece as a “broad visual statement,” each is filled with naturally formed events suspended in moments of evolution, not unlike nature’s surprising geological wonders. Some paintings are edgy, containing amoeboid-like shapes quivering in a pool of limpid color, while others are radiant, appearing to emanate light--another “subject” of McCarty’s--from within, and finally some works have the merest suggestion of form, a whisper of shapes by the artist, a conversation between figure and ground. McCarty is more interested in “forming a form” than in describing a form, more interested in edges and contrasts. Edges are important--hard, soft or in relief, created by cutting through paint, which she pours in thick shapes, perhaps a comment on human boundaries.

She writes about her new work:

“Inviting chance. Pouring content. In creating my works, I surrender pre-conceived images and ideological outcomes. Instead, the play of intuition, the preservation of physicality and the breath of spontaneity evolve as the subject.

“I choose to make possible and keep fresh an environment where upon each surface, something beautiful, naturally-occurring and unexpected emerges to surprise me. Trapping and tracing character out of the liquid paint, without directly drawing, I allow gravity and movement to give way to shape and to define edges. By honor- ing and coaxing both tiny movements as well as inviting bold gestures, I am able to capture the subtle vitality of discovery.

“The reference to natural forms is the inherent product of the physical formation; reminding one, incessantly, of nature and natural experience. My methods of pouring, shaping and layering reveal, not only the history of production, but also the mystery of evolution. The meaning is in the making. Immediacy, discovery

and the formation of color as well as shape create the subject and at the same time

are the subject...and these acts of painting, they become what they are.”
Color, always personal, is a primary “subject” of the painting. Her sensitivity to the environment, the landscape, clouds, shapes in the distance, striated rocks reverberate in her palette, which is broad and individual, ranging from colors of the earth, to ethereal color juxtapositions.

Unique too, is McCarty’s technique, or process. The artist builds a skin of paint on the aluminum surface using anything but brushes to pour the paint such as eye droppers, basters, towels, squeegees, her hand. Not a fan of brush strokes, she is interested in liquidity, in building elusive, sensual surfaces, varying in nature. With some light sanding between layers of paint to create a smooth surface, she allows the layers to work together, inviting the viewer into her shimmering universe, her range of drips, her crusting edges, like fissures in the earth.

Lynn McCarty was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1961. She received a B.F.A. from Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio and an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.

The artist’s work has been shown at the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Columbus College of Art and Design, Ohio; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; Portsmouth Museum of Art, New Hampshire; Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York; and Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona. Her work is included the collections of The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio and she is one of ten American artists included in the Vatican Collection, Art in Embassies Program, United States Department of State. McCarty is the recipient of a Ford Foundation Scholarship and a Pollock-Krasner Grant.

For further information and/or photographs please call 212-966-6676 or email Nancy Hoffman Gallery at

Yours sincerely,

Nancy Hoffman