— Exhibition Essay by Kate Nodrum
Lynne Boyd grew up in Pascoe Vale in the 60s and 70s and moved into a share house in Albert Park when she was completing her studies at the VCA in the early 80s. It was then that Port Phillip Bay became her muse. She moved to South Melbourne, then to St Kilda, and has been living and working in Brighton for the last 25 years. Throughout the years, the central theme of her work - principally painting, drawing and collage – continues to be the Bay.
Lynne is sensitive to subtleties: whether it’s the texture of a fabric, the tone of a singer’s voice, or a tweak in the hue of a colour, she seems to always notice these details and take great pleasure in their existence. These delicacies infuse her paintings: her gentle touch works smoky layers and ethereal gradations into her sometimes abstracted, but always recognisable, seascapes. This handling suits her subject perfectly: where the sky meets the sea is an ever-changing sight, with clouds and light forever concealing and revealing what’s on the horizon. Lynne has a special ability to capture the varying states of atmospheric change. In particular, the hazy, glary, pearlescent quality of our Port Phillip Bay. Clarice Beckett, whom Lynne admires greatly, shared the Bay as a muse, but because she was only free to paint at dawn or dusk, her views were limited by the low light levels. Thankfully, unlike Beckett, Lynne enjoys a more liberal practice as she is able to capture the Bay at all hours.
It’s difficult, and foolish, to ignore the degradation of seas and waterways across the globe, and Lynne’s concern for the Bay informs this body of work. The rubbish in our oceans (overwhelmingly single use plastics) is increasing, and Lynne’s Flotsam & Jetsam paintings, as well as the Wavelets, document this. On a formal level, she has picked up traces of the colours, shapes and patterns of the brightly coloured plastic detritus that invade our beaches and incorporated them into her paintings. Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems – where words are plucked from the poet’s increasingly limited environment and jotted on the backs of old envelopes - use a similar process, in my view, to create her characteristically concise insights. Dickinson’s poems have, as Lynne puts it, been with her on the journey of creating this body of work, as has – and is always – music. The first thing Lynne does when entering the studio is to turn on some music which she finds a great transporter into all her creative art.
A shift we’ve not seen before in Boyd’s usually pale palette, is the expansion of the high key colours of the flotsam and jetsam to fill entire canvases and bring her work close to geometric abstraction. This Heat, Silver Sea I, for example, evokes both a beach littered with towels, umbrellas, tents and bikini clad bodies, as well as a rainbow flavoured (plastic wrapped) icy pole.