Jamestown Native’s Work To Be Displayed In London
A former Jamestown resident is having her work exhibited in a gallery in London in June.
Janelle Lynch, who currently lives in New York City, where she also has a studio, has been an artist using multiple forms of photography and observational drawing and painting for years. She has had a 25-year career and has photographs that reside in major public and private collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the International Center of Photography, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the George Eastman Museum, and the Denver Art Museum.
Lynch is also the author of three monographs by Radius Books, “Los Jardines de Mexico” , “Barcelona”, and “Another Way of Looking at Love”.
Her newest body of work, “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” which is a collection of cyanotypes and large-format black and white photographs, are the subject of a documentary short film by Alight Films that will be done this spring and a solo exhibition at the Flowers Gallery London that will open in June.
Lynch said she has felt a connection to photography for her whole life.
“I have had a connection to photography and nature — my primary subject — since birth,” Lynch said. “My grandparents helped raise me. My grandfather was an amateur photographer and my grandmother had a deep appreciation of plants, trees, and wildlife. I enjoyed arts and crafts as a child. Some of my best memories are at my grandmother’s kitchen table painting or making suncatchers. My mother bought me my first camera when I was ten and I learned how to develop film and print photographs in high school. As a young adult, I had a deep yearning to make things, to express myself, communicate, and learn through the process of creating. In 1997, I began a graduate program in photography as a way of honoring myself and this one ‘wild and precious life,’ as the late poet Mary Oliver wrote in ‘The Summer Day’. I feel happiest and most truly myself when I am making something.”
Lynch’s primary medium for her work has been lens-based photography since she received her MFA in 1999. She began with a point-and-shoot camera when she was ten, and then in high school was given a 35 millimeter camera which she used until her late 20s. It was at this time when she was in graduate school when she began experimenting with other formats, specifically medium — six by seven centimeters — and large — four by five inches. Since 2006, she has used a large-format — eight by ten inch — view camera.
Lynch began studying observational drawing and painting in 2015 at the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture, where she is currently in a program.
“It has taught me how to see deeply and translate what I see — light, shadow, space, form, and shape — onto a two dimensional surface” Lynch said. “It’s a compelling challenge. Lately, I’ve been making drawings from photographs I made of my grandmother.”
In 2019, she began working with alternative processes — cameraless photographic techniques including photograms, lumen prints, and additionally cyanotypes in 2020. The cyanotypes are physical recordings of natural elements — an osprey wing, sea plants, and Lynch’s body — that affirm the fundamental value of all life in its various manifestations. Cyantopes are the focus of Lynch’s newest body of work. Lynch said right now she is most interested in an unmediated approach to image making, which means working directly with materials, paper, and light and, like in drawing and painting, creating the image herself.
Lynch was first introduced to the Flowers Gallery in London where her newest work is set to be exhibited, in 2018.
“I was introduced to the managing director of Flowers Gallery, Matthew Flowers, in 2018 by a dear friend’s father who is a long-time client and friend of the gallery,” Lynch said. “But I knew the gallery for years before as they had a space in New York as well and a very interesting exhibition program. Flowers Gallery was founded by Matthew’s mother, Angela Flowers in 1970 in London. They have two spaces in London, one on Kingsland Road, where my exhibition will be, and another on Cork Street where I had an exhibition of “Another Way of Looking at Love” in 2019, and one in Hong Kong.”
“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” will be exhibited at the Flowers Gallery, and at the same time be the focus of a short documentary that will show Lynch working on the project in Amagansett, NY along with other work in Upstate NY and interviews in her Manhattan studio. The documentary short is made by Mia Allen and produced by PlantPop. It will be between ten to 15 minutes long and include interviews and footage of Lynch photographing and cyanotyping between 2021 and 2023 in her studio, Upstate NY, and Amagansett.
For Lynch, having her work exhibited in this way is exciting.
“It is a great honor to be invited to show my work at Flowers Gallery and very exciting to share it publicly,” Lynch said. “I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity. It offers the chance to engage in critical discussions about the work and to learn about what it communicates to others. It also allows me a different perspective on the work — seeing it in its finished form, framed and installed in another space will reveal something new to me.”
Following the opening of the show in the gallery and the premier of the documentary, Lynch plans on taking time to rest and potentially travel.
“During the summer, I will either return to the New York Studio School for intensive summer ‘marathons,’ or I will do a residency and make more cyanotypes,” Lynch said. “In the late fall I hope to return to Amagansett, which is where I made “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” in 2022, to make more work. I would like to publish a book of my cyanotypes in the near future, too.”
Lynch’s work can be viewed on her website, janellelynch.net