Jonathan Stevenson blogs about the paintings of Amy Lincoln, on view at Morgan Lehman Gallery, New York, through May 7, 2016.
Stevenson observes that Lincoln's painting's "vivid color, exacting line, and exotic detail leap out at the viewer, so that the initial impression is straightforwardly Rousseau-esque, maybe with a nod to earnest Regionalist and Symbolist landscape painters. Her work isn’t merely gorgeous or wistful. She imparts to her paintings an arch, expansive ambivalence that gives them depth, mystery, and a little darkness ... These paintings, smart and probing as they are visually striking and technically accomplished, scratch the itch at the juncture of perception and imagination."
Lincoln comments: "I like to have a bit of a sense of humor with some of the imagery in my paintings. The whole idea of zebras in the jungle is sort of a joke, even a play on the idea of naive painting, where someone imagines this exotic land but doesn’t really have the details right. Zebras don’t really live in the jungle, of course. As to the austerity, or order, to some degree that comes from an idea I have that there is so much useless crap we buy and then have to store, that if I am going to create a new object, it better be extremely carefully, beautifully, thoughtfully made. I would rather take a lot of time and make fewer objects, but make them really special and unusual. This is also the result of trying to make good compositions. I enjoy making complex compositions, but this requires putting trees in, then taking them out, repainting a fish so that it’s one inch further to the left."
Thoughts on connections between the paintings of Amy Lincoln and works by Henri Rousseau:
"There are some striking formal parallels between [Lincoln's] and Rousseau’s work. The luscious plants bursting with color (Lincoln’s more so) and elegantly oscillating between flatness and roundness... Every single leaf that we see in 'Spring Trees with Rain' has been modeled and shaped to stand out on its own, ripe with volume and heightened plasticity. Her surfaces are covered in individual marks that assume various objects: blades of grass, leafs, rain drops. Maybe I should take back what I said in the beginning when I called her work 'reductive.' In Lincoln’s and to the same degree in Rousseau’s paintings, it is not so much a reduction of the visible world that fascinates me; it is its compression into a more comprehensible form. In other words: when thin layers of paint finally thicken into the objects they describe."
Edited by artist Brett Baker, Painters' Table highlights writing from the painting blogosphere as it is published and serves as a platform for exploring blogs that focus primarily on the subject of painting.