Pure and Simple- Shelter Island Artist Katherine Lynch
July 13, 2018 - Samantha McConnel
January 31, 2014 - Stephanie Strasnick
In these oil paintings, all from 2013, Kathryn Lynch captured the tranquility and sheer beauty of New York’s Shelter Island in a manner that is both whimsical and candid. Her series of four 22-by-30-inch paintings of tugboats has the uncomplicated and nostalgic charm of children’sbook illustrations. Tug in Greys, for example, depicts a simple vessel floating on hazy waters. The toylike boat, lacking ornament, is situated in the center of the canvas with nothing but the gray sky above and the murky sea below. In another work, Tug, the boat is in the foreground. Absent contours and dimensionality, the small tugboat appearsalmost cartoonish.
In her landscapes, Lynch paints the view from the shoreline at various times of day, studying light and its effects on perception. In the quaint Coecles Harbor, the afternoon sun allows for an uninterrupted view of the waterfront. Kellygreen trees in the distance provide a complementary backdrop for small boats sailing through crystal-blue water. Two tall, painterly trees in the foreground neatly frame the composition. Then, in another harborside landscape, Pink Moon, a pearlescent moon illuminates the scene. Here, the water looks grayand swamp-like; the trees in the background are black and unintelligible. This change in light alters the viewer’s perception of the scene.
The most enchanting pieces were the night scenes. They capture the intrigue of the seemingly expansive harbor. The large work Tug in Night, for instance, features a lone boat navigating dark waters in the dead of night. Shining lights from distant ships provide faint visibility, but nearby forms are indiscernible. Lynch’s thick application of paint on paper caused the work to buckle and form wavelike ripples. The glossy finish is reminiscent of the surface of the reflective waters. Though Lynch’s techniques are highly simplified, her visual effects are captivating.
—Stephanie StrasnickDownload Article (PDF)