Sandoval Signpost
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Signpost Featured Artist

Artist Lynx Lightning with her artwork Waiting For Spring
Photo credit: —Oli Robbins

Santo Sol, 36”x36” mosaic, by Lynx Lightning

Home (detail), 11”x17,” ceramic, by Lynx Lightning

Life In The Forest, 22”x26,” mosaic, by Lynx Lightning

Time For Apricots, 12”x12,” mosaic, by Lynx Lightning

Signpost featured artist

Lynx Lightning: The artist behind this “Solstice”

~Oli Robbins

The Anasazi Fields Winery is a somber place this month, following the untimely death of beloved community member Jim Fish. But brightening its walls is a one-woman show that Fish championed and helped orchestrate. The clay work and mosaics of multi-media artist Lynx Lightning comprise this local exhibition: “Solstice: and Other Earthly Delights.”

Fish became familiar with and supportive of Lightning’s work through the many years that Lightning worked winery events alongside him. The two had been planning the show for over a year, and it opened this June with Fish present.

Though Lightning creates in a variety of styles and mediums, her current fascination centers around the relationship between nature and clay. Several of the works hanging in “Solstice” bare impressions of nature through the stamping of twigs, seedpods, and other natural objects in clay. Says Lightning, “I find endless delight in using these bits and pieces from the landscape to create these miniature scenes of our natural world.”

Lightning finds great joy in her process, which is predicated on her own keen observation of and interaction with nature. She collects her materials from everywhere and anywhere, combing her surroundings for objects that might make an interesting impression in clay. On a rolled clay slab, she arranges and presses the objects. She makes additional markings in the clay with stamps and household objects to complete the scene; stamped birds and abstract patterning feature prominently. After drying, the slab is bisque-fired before being sponge-painted with an iron-oxide solution. The slabs are then fired again, and the oxide permanently colors the clay body in an earth tone ranging from red to brown. Lightning calls the process “instinctual,” since her pieces are largely spontaneous—dependent upon the objects that call to her and make their way into her path.

Lightning has no professional art training or education, yet she has persistently studied and mastered techniques she found intriguing. She grew up just north of Santa Barbara and can’t remember a time when she didn’t engage with the arts—whether through childhood sensory mud play or as an eager Kindergartener camping out at the easels. A thoughtful teacher instilled within her the confidence to experiment consistently with new things. Says Lightning, “When I was 16, she saw how innately creative I was.” She encouraged Lightning to play with every material the school housed—from a beehive kiln to enameling supplies and cloisonné wires. Through these experiences, she became proficient in lost-wax casting, clay work, metalwork, and batik.

As a young adult, Lightning moved often, finding herself living elsewhere in California, as well as Oregon and Washington. A visual highlight from her early twenties was seeing her first silk painting at a friend’s house. “I glanced over my shoulder as I walked by an open door, and there was a frame over this piece of fabric… I could see the resist lines in the fabric and it was the most incredible drawing. I thought, ‘I’m going to do that one day.’”

Several years later, Lightning found her way back to silk painting—alongside collage and assemblage. As she says, “I’m always exploring things—fingers in different pies, irons in different fires.” Her current silk work includes fan veils used in belly dancing. Lightning, a belly dancer herself, says the veils “flutter and dive and dance,” calling them “the most beautiful things.”

In the late Nineties, Lightning made her way to New Mexico following an invitation from a friend. Lightning recalls, “I didn’t even visit first—I just felt like I wanted to come out here. I had a feeling about New Mexico.” After exploring the northern part of the state, she settled on the small community of Lindrith before moving down to Albuquerque. She soon met Placitas mosaicist Roger Evans through a co-worker, and it wasn’t long before she added “mosaic artist” to her list of artistic identities. Lightning’s relationship with Evans was the closest she came to being involved in traditional artistic training. She assisted him with a large-scale mosaic that wraps around his home and studied beside him for years. Lightning is now part of Mosaic New Mexico and has participated in the group’s shows. One of the central pieces in “Solstice” is a large and soulful mosaic sun face—a recurring figure in Lightning’s body of work that she has been depicting since high school.

Balance within art is fundamental to Lightning, who strives for harmony no matter the medium. Says Lightning, “Sometimes I just want to organize textures. It’s an underlying thing I do. It’s a balancing act—making colors relate to each other in a way that feels right in my body.”

“Solstice” will be up at the winery through July (the winery will be open weekends). Her work also decorates the entrance of the Winning Coffee House at 111 Harvard SE in Albuquerque. Lightning is available for custom work and can be contacted at 705-1465 or colorqween1@gmail.com.

 
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