Visual Arts

Capacitors of Thought: Lynn Northrop at Indigo

by / Apr. 20, 2015 12pm EST

Stop by to experience the artistry of Lynn Northrop’s Power Birds before the exhibition at Indigo Arts Gallery closes on April 25. Wander the wild field of watchful inhabits and take a look at the informative short film playing continuously in the side room of the gallery. Learn about the artist and her process in this documentary by Jon R. Hand. Imagine a young girl who requests a roll of aluminum foil for her birthday present. She grows up to find inspiration in an ancient carved hand mirror at the Met and later moves to Western New York to work as a toy designer at Fisher Price. Her work serves as a current of connection to consciousness and memory. 

The bird constructions begin with a carved wood head and beak. The body and stand are formed with any number of elements—paper, machine parts, and glass. One is made from an actual wasp nest. Like the bird soaring above and seeing the expansive view below, the artist is a gleaner who is drawn to materials that convey the multitude of  pattern, texture, and detail found in the natural world. Her attraction to “power objects” refers to both traditional and everyday items—royal crowns, totem poles, Celtic rings, as well as good luck charms, love tokens, souvenirs, and heirlooms.  Many of the works contain inlaid glass spheres or freestanding tubes filled with delicate remnants—ritualistic offerings of moths, dried plants, shells, feathers, bones, nuts, and seeds. 

Northrop equates the evolution of creative ideas to the formulation of crystals. In addition to the 28 Power Birds, Northrop also displays a selection of her Sea Crystal series, small worlds of ephemera within circular glass. She selects and assembles with precision to arrive at microcosms of the world that rattle memory and emotion. Marcel Proust wrote in a letter to his wife in 1913: “We think we no longer love the dead because we do not remember them, but if by chance we come across an old glove we burst into tears.” Objects can be more powerful than faces, as they remind us of what cannot be taken away. Formations of butter knives, auto parts, candlesticks, and masonry tools find life in our heart and mind—awakened by human perception. Find out more about Lynn Northrop and Metamorformations at Indigo Arts Gallery on Allen Street. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday.