I, HERE, NOW: Vivian Lynn
25 October 2008 – 15 March 2009
Vivian Lynn will be known to many as the artist who notoriously used hair in a number of large-scale installations dating from the early 1980s, such as Guarden Gates (1982) and The Gates of Goddess: A Southern Crossing (1986).
These are landmark works in New Zealand’s art history for their trenchant re-coding of materials and subjects that aimed to expose the binary logic of western patriarchal culture and its consequences, as well as provide positive statements about women’s experience.
But perhaps less well known is the fact that Vivian Lynn has been a practising artist since the late 1950s, working across a range of media – painting, drawing, printmaking, book-making, and installation – to develop a formally and iconographically complex body of work that asks fundamental questions about the nature of being, especially if one is a woman.
The Adam Art Gallery redressed this situation, by staging a selective survey of her practice that canvassed its full range, and brought to light works that have not been seen for many years. Curated by Christina Barton and Laura Preston, the show examined the diversity of Lynn’s output to draw out underlying themes and ongoing concerns.
The curators believe Lynn’s work should be better known, both for its marvellous technical virtuosity and its critical examination of society. In her refusal to develop a signature style, in her practical reiteration of the notion that forms and materials can, in themselves, engender meanings, and in her continual attempt to develop new modes of socially engaged practice, the curators believe Lynn is an artist for our times.
Vivian Lynn on Radio New Zealand 2009 [mp3]
Anna Smith keynote lecture Artist as harrow [mp3]
Vivian Lynn and curator Christina Barton in conversation [mp3]
Out Loud: Using the “F” Word Today discussion [mp3]
In conjunction with this exhibition, the Adam Art Gallery produced the comprehensive monograph I, Here, Now Vivian Lynn. Thoughtfully designed by Sarah Maxey it includes an introduction by Christina Barton, essays by Anna Smith, Anne Kirker, Robert Easton, Pamela Gerrish Nunn, Charlotte Huddleston, Ian Wedde, Priscilla Pitts, Sarah Treadwell, and Guyon Neutze, as well as a detailed chronology of the artist’s life and career and a comprehensive exhibition history and bibliography.