Chris Lynch

Artist Statement:

I have been a graphic designer for over 30 years. That acquired discipline carries over into my personal work both esthetically and critically. My dad was a classically trained artist who always encouraged but never sought to influence my thinking. His professionalism was my inspiration.

Masks and ritualistic objects generally have always held a fascination for me. The forms these objects can take are limitless. In “primitive” cultures, these objects are painstakingly constructed with a real purpose, with function first over mere ornamentation. This I find very exciting.

If there are points of influence in my current work they would lay in Alfonso Ossorio and Jean Dubuffet— Ossorio in the assemblage aspect and Dubuffet in the use of humble materials. Although I am fascinated with and a great admirer of aborignal art, I do not attempt to emulate it. What I take from it is the ingenuity the "primitive" uses in making art from that which is at hand. No esoteric or technical processes are involved. Mine is art made from the most common of materials. One element is present in all of my pieces, the face or "mask". It is the glue binding the body together.

In my work I explore common materials using fairly rudimentary tools to “organize” them into sources of mystery. Combining rusticity with disciplined composition and focus is my primary aim. My extensive use of found objects, objects with acquired “power,” is my attempt to mimic the aboriginal. I’d call myself a modern primitive, creating from the gleanings of an industrial society. I believe my being self taught is beneficial in my work because external influences are attenuated. My aim is to derive inspiration totally from within.

Think of it as an exercise in making “green” art, so to speak. Order out of junk…

Mask Boxes:

Overlord BoxChris Lynch

The first step in the process is making a very rough sketch.  I include mental notes about available materials with annotations for their inclusion in the eventual construction. Understand that each piece starts with the bounding box, which will be roughly 4” deep and enclosed under glass.  There is a practical reason for the glass front, which is to protect the contents from dust and dirt.

And speaking of contents, they range from common plumbing fixtures to bones or something I found in the alley.  I always seem to have my nose to the ground, with a kind of radar for discarded treasures.  I love castoffs  – the orphans of industrial society – and the rustier the better. Or shiny.

The central element in each box is a mask or a doll.  This lends focus to the overall design and is tossing a nod to the art of primitive cultures.  I use the most basic of tools, not to say that I do not possess power tools, but I try to limit their use. 

This having been said, the real excitement is seeing each piece come to life.  From the rough beginning to the completed piece it is a process.