Lesley Heller Gallery is pleased to present the first New York solo show of JF Lynch in our Project Space. Lynch is an artist known for his monochromatic works that feature abstracted letters and words set within a dark expanse. Working predominantly with charcoal on paper or canvas, Lynch’s work bridges painting, drawing, and writing.
This exhibition presents a selection of charcoal-on-canvas drawings that depict a theatrical and dramatic—almost three-dimensional—space in which letters float; turning and engaging with each other to form hidden and jumbled words. To achieve this result, Lynch first constructed a physical three-dimensional alphabet that could be legible from many different angles to stage a “still life” from which to work. This allows for his subject words to remain as legible as he wants from many different angles. The words depicted are often short and meditative. Lynch speaks of using a limited palette of letter forms, often focusing on short words such as if – of – is.
The use of charcoal as his primary material is an aesthetic and tactile choice, but also stems from an interest in the origins of drawing; the use of charcoal for example in the 17,000-year-old murals of the Lascaux caves in France.
Particular to this exhibition are the words: if, of, beautiful, real, and sucker; with each piece approaching the word in a slightly different manner. Untitled (sucker)—the only circular piece in the show—is perhaps the most straightforward, read in a linear manner from left to right. The other works are progressively less obvious, culminating with Beautiful (full of beauty) which is the most disorderly and abstract.
Lynch states that words “are the mortar in the construction of our understanding.” He is interested in how the relationship of the letters in his artworks affects the way each word is perceived, how writing can exist as drawing, and how drawings communicate ideas.