Amelia Lynch

Inspired by geological processes such as stratification and rock erosion, Amelia Lynch casts her ceramic figures in concert with the natural world, as she encounters it. Masterful and magical, these are works made with a warm, affectionate touch.

Ceramicist Amelia Lynch is based on the New South Wales Central Coast – a quotidian detail at first blush, perhaps, but one which extends beyond the realm of biographical “fact” and into more explanatory territory. Her most recent body of work, showing this May with Arthouse Gallery, Sydney, reflects on her phenomenological and emotional relationships with the natural environments in which she has spent time: Bouddi National Park, near home, the subtropical rainforest of Nunn’s Creek, where she grew up, Wyrrabulong National Park, and places further afield in Central Australia. These environments, the way the light moves and is inflected uniquely in each, and their non-human inhabitants inform her tenderly crafted pieces – though these don’t aim at representation, nor at nostalgia, or any notion of ownership. We may catch glimmers of eucalyptus bark, Yabby shells, dry leaf forms, or rock faces in the pools of Lynch’s surfaces, yet these dynamic, tumbling works are not about “capturing” nature, so much as they are about being fleetingly captured amongst it. 

The idea of organic form can be dangerous for artists: How to deal with the often-violent histories of landscape painting which seem implied in works responding to nature? How t0 move away from straightforward mimesis? How to escape from the limiting idea of the natural  as something pure, unsullied and untouched by the human hand? Such questions are particularly fraught in Australia, where contact with land since colonisation has frequently been exploitative. Lynch addresses these problems not by hiding the hand, but by relishing its touch. The hand is a form of technology, after all, and can be used to sense and make sense of the inchoate material we find ourselves amongst. Many of the dips and ridges in her clay forms bear the shape of fingers and palms; delighting in tactility and in the warmth of holding and being held, these works celebrate the magic of the human encounter with the natural world.

Working from memory as well as from more immediate encounters, Lynch’s making is grounded by a joyous affection for the world that meets her. This sense of delight in the interaction – almost social, really – between the human and what lives beyond it is reflected in Lynch’s vibrant colour palette, achieved through both intuition and technical mastery of oxides and stains. Lynch’s work can be viewed from all sides, with dynamic compositions of surfaces which are at once exhilarating and elusive – perhaps, much like our meetings with our sensate surroundings themselves.

Amelia Lynch: Rockpools
30 April – 21 May 2022
Arthouse Gallery, Sydney

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