New Work with an Old Twist

COURAGE

I feel great about this new scupture. It was a probem: I made a double sided painted relief scupture in my “Epiphany” series and I couldn’t figure out how to display it. Then I remembered my domestic tornado series and the epiphany is now dangling beautifully from a twister that is piercing through my ceiling. This feels completely appropriate. The domestic tornado is made from my clothing, ripped and re-pieced and covered with embroidered pleas to God for help. It was done a few years ago when my personal world was torn apart. (more here) Now that our poor world is coming apart at the seams, my tornados have a larger purpose–or at least they describe a larger thing. So now this pleading twister carries with it one of my “Epiphanies”– work that I see as a messenger of hope; a small point of light in a dark sky.

Handmade in Uxbridge

I have been doing some slightly smaller work for a pop-up show December 12-22 behind Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge Ontario. Sizes and prices will be published soon. Questions?Email LynneMcilvride@icloud.com. Opening reception December 14, 1-4 with special guest KEN WELSH entertaining the crowd. This is the only kind of shopping experience I can handle! Featuring several local artists. See hours below.

  • Thursday December 12, 10-8
  • Friday December 13, 10-8
  • Saturday December 14, 10-4
  • Sunday December 15, 11-5
  • Monday December 16, 10-6
  • Tuesday December 17, 10-6
  • Wednesday December 18, 10-8
  • thursday December 19, 9-8
  • Friday December 20, 9-9
  • Saturday December 21, 9-7
  • Sunday December 22, 9-6

Showing Now at The Second Wedge

Another Garden Variety Angel

I am happy to be showing a mixture of my work at The Second Wedge Brewing Co, Uxbridge Ontario. It is up now and will continue to November 3. I will be having a reception for the show on Thursday, October 24, 6:00-9:00. Dawna Huizenga will be my musical guest for the last part of the evening.

When I found out the owners of The Second Wedge were storm chasers and tornado lovers, I knew I had to resurrect my tornado series to mix in with my newer work. The following is my artist statement written 5 years ago about this series. I called it “Spin”: Weather is such a powerful metaphor for human emotion. And that writhing weather monster, the tornado, is a particularly apt way of describing the trauma, the fury, the intensity of loss. It’s hard not to take a tornado personally: it gets to the point by narrowing down and strikes a specific spot. It comes out of the blue. We don’t know what hit us. We are caught in a whirlwind of emotion. Everything is up in the air. There is no emergency plan for these twists of fate. To put a positive spin on it, a tornado (that snaking shape-shifter) is just energy. It makes a long-winded metaphor that lasts and lasts because it wrecks and then absorbs whatever it touches down on. What starts out as an emblem of emotional devastation contorts into an expression of fury and then is reborn as a metaphor for unstoppable creativity, play and passion. Like the flowering cross, can it become a cornucopia? Blooming tornados! Elijah goes to Heaven, Dorothy goes to Oz. One thing for certain is this: we are pulled out of our orbit and dropped in a different place, undone. Here is a link to a video Steven Frank created a few years ago of me talking about the tornado series.

This show is a mix of old and new work, the newest being my carved relief sculptures. I call this ongoing series my “Epiphanies”. The following is my artist statement from that series: I’ve always loved symmetry, especially imperfect symmetry where pattern is revealed and then lost but still the intention of the pattern remains. I am drawn to the shape of the equilateral cross with its reference to life and death; arm-stretching cosmic hugs, whirligigs and flowers with stillness at their centres; the crucifixion and the flowering resurrection. My friend and I were talking about the small epiphanies of childhood—instances when we sensed an invitation from God: the mysterious comfort of a statue of Virgin and child along a well-frequented path; wind animating treetops; a song about the Magi breaking into a child’s sad night. As I do these small dense painted carvings, I realize they represent hints of hope: modest epiphanies. They allude to those moments that happen in the blink of an eye, brief and easily missed…but if you manage to pay attention, life-changing.               

Lynne McIlvride …… Storm Seller; Relief Worker

LynneMcilvride.ART

Garden Variety Angel

The following is a Confusing Price List:

There is a similar price list at the actual show with arrows which are helpful. Basically the relief wood carvings that are still for sale are enlarged. Otherwise they are already sold.

Thanks so much to Lesley and Michael, Rob and Joanne for all the help hanging the show!

Welcome to my World!

Hello. I have been continuing my theme of “Epiphanies” which I will be happy to show you at The Uxbridge Studio Tour, September 14 and 15. More beadwork, more woodcarving, more colour riots. Francis Muscat was in my studio the other day and and described the series as Psychadelic Baroque.

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This last one is a video. Click to see on instagram. All work is handcarved basswood with inlaid glass beadwork and acrylic paint. Oil paint is added to some and many have gold leaf applied. Here is a LINK to the Uxbridge Studio Tour Brochure. I will have extras you can pick up at my studio. I am Site 24: last but not least!! My guest artist is magnificent ceramic artist, Ann Cummings.

Epiphany


After decades of art-making, I am still delighted when I am led into an unanticipated direction. I’ve always liked wood. (Who doesn’t?!) But my past experience has been limited to woodblock carving for prints. In the commission I finished last year for ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help’ Church, I incorporated relief woodcarving into the frames. The placement of the commissions in the niches of the church and their content of the presence and workings of the Holy Spirit all sent me back to a way of art-making from years ago before the tornados hit that was characterized by hope and the munificence of God. This is timely I think because surely we are living in an appalling and absurd time in need of hope.

I fell in love with woodcarving doing this commission

I’ve always loved symmetry, especially imperfect symmetry where carved pattern is revealed and then lost but still the intention of the pattern remains. I also love the shape of the equilateral cross with its reference to life and death; arm-stretching cosmic hugs; whirligigs and flowers with stillness at their centers; the crucifixion and the flowering resurrection. My friend and I were talking about the small epiphanies of childhood–instances when we sensed an invitation from God: the comfort and mystery of a statue of Virgin and Child on a well-frequented path; wind animating the tops of trees; a song about the magi breaking into a child’s sad night. As I do these small dense painted carvings, I realize they represent hints of hope; modest epiphanies. They allude to those moments that happen in the blink of an eye, brief and easily missed but if you manage to pay attention, life-changing.

The Epiphany series will be shown at the Artist Project Toronto February 21-24, 2019

For more images from the series click here.

Another Easter Coming

The Commission

Hello. I haven’t written anything for a year. I almost forget how. First of all I am thrilled to have finished the first of two paintings for niches at ‘Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church’ Toronto. I was honoured when Fr. Dan Donovan, priest and Toronto art collector since the 1950’s, asked me to come up with something to fit into the two niches at the church. If you know me at all, you will know that I do not normally do commissions. I find it very difficult. However I embraced the challenge and promptly caught mono so I was out of commission in both senses of the phrase for the rest of the summer. I finally finished and installed the first piece a month ago. The frame which I had great fun carving was made by carpenter, Brent Orenstein. The church is open to visitors if anybody would like to see this piece.

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27867253_10212911894169486_8699252330520390668_n27750875_10212911884489244_2314178401744135959_n27655425_10212911885369266_510159827736305342_n27654951_10212911885049258_8251764808514772441_n-2And here is a movie I took while the organist was rehearsing during installation. It isn’t great as far as movies go but it’s kind of interesting.

The Trip to Salvation Mountain

Now you might see a bit of a theme here. Something old is new again. Something interesting is brewing. After the commission was done I had the chance to go on a quick trip to Long Beach California. I quickly sourced local Outsider artists’ environments since that seems to be what holds my interest lately. I had the chance to see Watt’s Towers and Salvation Mountain. Now Watt’s Towers was wonderful: I loved it. But Salvation Mountain with its unabashed bible verses and idealism spoke to me in a whole different way. Here’s Watts Towers first.

 

And now here is Salvation Mountain in Slab City. Visit if you can. Stay at Cherry and Abel’s Air BNB.

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And Now More Words: Revisiting the Bible

Yes my Easter Show is coming up but before it does, I am taking part in another wonderful event. Actor Ken Welsh is doing a live reading of the entire book of St. Mark at the local Anglican church in Uxbridge. He was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to have a few paintings around the church while he performs. Aside from the cross (seen below) that the church commissioned me to do several years ago, I will have two or three new works as a preview of my Easter show and I am also borrowing back ten or so older biblical paintings from local people. Victoria Joannou, violinist, will also be playing. This is a great opportunity to see Ken live. I saw him do this at Soulpepper theatre in Toronto a couple of years ago and it amazed me. Actually it was a sold-out weekday matinee and I went alone and sat beside a woman I didn’t know. I made conversation by saying I was surprised the theatre was so full on a wednesday afternoon. She looked at me as if I had an IQ of about 37 and said slowly and emphatically “well….. it’s Ken Welsh!” So there you go.

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Actor Ken Welsh reads book of Mark under my commissioned cross

 

And Finally My Easter Show

This one is called Postcard from Salvation Mountain. What can I say but I hope you will come. Or should I say “wish you were here”? I hope to open my house this year as well as my studio. It is slowly becoming a piece of art in itself. Give me 20 more years….

Easter 2018 copy

Summer 2017!!!!

I know it isn’t summer yet but I am looking forward to it. I started Spring off with my yearly Easter show and coming up very soon will be the Lake Scugog Studio Tour: May 6 and 7.

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Easter Show 2017

This is new for me. I am hoping it will give those a chance who missed my Easter show to see my latest work and enjoy spring in Utica.

I will be spending the summer on more boats, angels and the Tree of Life. All here in Utica. There is an exciting commission in the works which might be interesting to document as it progresses. And remind me (whoever you are) to tell you about Billy Parker. I need to write about him ASAP. (Speaking of angels.) Here are a few pics of new work:

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detail of “Cat and Angels”

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Cat and Angels

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The remaining Fleet

Keep your eyes open for my subtle new street number sign when you come by:14260

 

Lynne McIlvride

13.LookNoHandsLynne12. DisasterWaitingToHappen

Who am I and how did I get here? I have asked myself that question many times in the last two years. My name is Lynne Mcilvride. I have been an artist ever since I remember. I find speaking awkward: my first language is colour. (It’s a good line that has served me well.) A little background to explain tornados and cats: I have a new studio. No, let me back up. I had an old studio in a farmhouse and an old marriage in that same house. I was happy there until I was dumped like a dog out of a moving vehicle. I grieved. I was kept sane by my friends, my faith and my art. For those of you who have followed my work, you will not be surprised by what happened next: I kept painting using new metaphors. My art has always been personal, autobiographical, symbolic, expressive. A tornado soon appeared in a dream and it started a huge series that has not completely spun out. Here is my artist statement I have reused a few times:

Spin

Weather is such a powerful metaphor for human emotion. And that writhing weather monster, the tornado, is a particularly apt way of describing the trauma, the fury, the intensity of loss. It’s hard not to take a tornado personally: it gets to the point by narrowing down and strikes a specific spot. It comes out of the blue. We don’t know what hit us. We are caught in a whirlwind of emotion. Everything is up in the air. There is no emergency plan for these twists of fate.

To put a positive spin on it, a tornado (that snaking shape-shifter) is just energy. It makes a long-winded metaphor that lasts and lasts because it wrecks and then absorbs whatever it touches down on. What starts out as an emblem of emotional devastation contorts into an expression of fury and then is reborn as a metaphor for unstoppable creativity, play, and passion. Like the flowering cross, can it become a cornucopia? Blooming tornados! Elijah goes to heaven, Dorothy goes to Oz, one thing for certain is we are pulled out of our orbit and dropped in a different place, undone.

BILLY PARKER: the fool who changed my life

Being a fool myself, I suffer them gladly. You might say, I’m a bit foolhardy.

I’ve told this story many times to many people who have needed to hear it. I have been trying to write it down for years. The following is the story of Billy Parker:

Seven years ago, I was drowning in grief for the loss of my 27 year marriage and had just started living very much alone in my little cottage with an art studio steps away. I loved the place immediately: it was the perfect place to weep and I wept it clean. I remember eating toast alone every morning, afraid I would choke on inhaled crumbs as I gasped between sobs. I had just one week earlier finally taken off my thin, miss-shapen wedding band and placed it on the nail that held up a calendar, stuck on an earlier month. I hadn’t laughed in months. I was quickly getting to know my new neighbours who share my driveway, a thoughtful and caring couple of retired teachers, who I will call Al and Wendy Nees. It was a very snowy early March, about 5:00 in the afternoon.  The stage is set. 

A knock on the door. I was surprised to see a strange little man, head angled forward, smiling with unbridled enthusiasm. He looked wiry even through his dark winter clothes: a friendly jockey; a hungry garden gnome. His voice was loud and enthusiastic. Hi! I’m Billy Parker! I‘m cycling cross Canada (in the snow, remember).  I depend on strangers for a place to sleep. Just one night each place. I’ll be gone before you’re up.  You can look me up on the computer! SOMEBODY’s writing a blog about ME!  He sees I am looking slightly uneasy, confused… Now…I know you’re a singlelady (he says this as if it’s one word) —I can tell by your car……. so I’m not going to ask to sleep in your house but….what’s that building? That’s my studio, I said, wondering what else my Pontiac Vibe said about me. I was just about to go do some painting. Well, it’s perfect for me. Just need a roof over my head. Got my own bedding and food. I’ll be gone in the morning. I just need you to help put my bike inside. I looked to see that Al and Wendy’s cars were both in our shared driveway and I thought, well….he is either a crazy man or an angel sent from God. His smile disarmed me and I chose angel. “OK” I said. I helped him put his heavily laden bike in my studio thinking if he was a lunatic and committed a crime, his getaway vehicle would be a bicycle in the snow…and I felt safe. Now I can’t pay you, but you can take my picture, he said, smiling as if he had given me a gift. So I did–and I turned up the propane stove and as I left, I said “is there anything else you need?” Well, I could do with some grub, he answered quickly, ignoring what he had said earlier about having food. I gave him the choice of spaghetti or steak and he chose steak with a pure and childlike joy, astonished at his own good luck.  I told him to come into the house at 7:00 when I planned on asking Al and Wendy if they would like to join me for a drink. I wasn’t sure I wanted to be alone with this holy fool but I sure wanted to hear his story!

Now unbeknown to me, Billy had stopped at every other house on my country road including Al and Wendy’s. Wendy doesn’t miss a thing and I can imagine her mortified look as she and Al followed the crazyman with their eyes from their house to mine. Al! Al! She’s letting him stay! She just helped him put the bike in her studio! What are we going to do?  He could be dangerous! What is Lynne thinking?! When I shyly phoned to see if they would come over while Billy ate his steak, I was surprised at how quickly they said yes and how relieved they sounded.

So I made Billy’s supper with the last steak I had nicked from my ex’s farm. He, Al and Wendy met at my house at 7:00. We all sat around my hand-painted table. I put the steak before him with a salad on the side. He drank the wine I offered and for the next three hours proceeded to tell tales of his travels so tall I laughed the entire time at the absurdity. I couldn’t stop laughing. Let’s see… there was the time he stayed the night at a butterfly collector’s house but none of the wings matched. He met a counterfeiter of Canadian tire money and also a prostitute who accepted Canadian tire money. This went on and on. He didn’t stop talking even to eat until finally Wendy stopped him and said, “ Billy, Lynne has made you that nice steak and you haven’t touched it for the last two hours. Are you going to eat it? His reply was mysterious and in my new frame of mind, hilarious. He said Nope not yet. I’m just going to drink wine and talk and when I go back to Lynne’s studio to sleep I’m going to bring the steak with me and cut it into strips with a pair of scissors. Then he looked at the salad and said, and I’m allergic to that green stuff. Then he told stories for another hour and wish I could remember them all. They were crazy tales and I laughed and laughed. I felt under a most hilarious spell. I do remember taking my attention away from him for 5 seconds to ask Al something and when I turned back to look at Billy, he seemed to have fallen asleep sitting at the table until it was his turn to talk again.  Just before he was ready to head out into the studio with his scissors and steak, he leaned back in his chair, looked around and said, In my travels I stay at a lot of different places. I stay at some normal places and some weird places. This is definitely one of the weird places. I’m not sure why he said that: it could have been my slightly unconventional decorating or it could be the large series of tornado art-constructions in my studio. Regardless, I found this too hilarious. He thinks I’m weird?! Looking back I felt honoured. He was true to his word and left in the morning before I was up after having coffee with Al and Wendy who still now rise hours before I do. 

I can’t say I recommend my course of action to everyone. But in this instance I am grateful I let this fool stay. I thank God even now for this gift. I never before (or since) laughed so much in one night and this laughter broke down so many roadblocks and walls, disarmed ogres, made demons flee….and started a very nice friendship with my neighbours.  

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Hebrews 13:2