Love and Chaos
Falling In, Climbing Out
Artist, Rita Lynn Lyman
Art Opening & Water Witch Jazz Trio
Friday, February 19, 2021
Though the materials, concepts and surface preparations were much older, the
actual painting on this series began in 2014. I had a huge studio in which to work as a way
to heal from trauma of childhood illness, sexual assault, violence and addiction in my family
and later a dangerous husband and terrifying divorce from which I literally fled for my life.
The creation of the work overlapped a timeline of events, two historic hurricanes that hit
New Jersey up through the beginning of covid-19. The series was completed in June 2020.
Many huge positive changes were happening too; a new love, an unexpected move
from Cape May to Highlands last March and planning for a covid wedding in September.
Difficult times, terrifying people and circumstances and the healing from them had
the feeling of hurricanes blowing through my life or the feeling of being at sea in a storm.
I went to the studio as my safe place, seeking recovery from so much turmoil and
change. I needed to get paint to panel as a way to find my roots again and heal. I dipped
my hands and feet in paint to trust my feelings again. I walked and danced on the canvases
while they lay on the floor, I threw paint instead of falling apart and pushed paint around
with unusual tools. I combined abstract feelings with words. I painted methodically in the
same spot for hours telling myself, “don’t overthink it”. I talked to myself and to the
paintings; they were a visceral transformative process toward healing.
The choice to use this assertive color representing both nature at its most
changeable moments and the passion of humans in both frightening and healing moments
while using materials like bedsheets, house paint, closet doors, dumpster wood and
repurposed industrial panels that would have been discarded were a deliberate part of the
process. Finally the panels came to life, the act of creating in this way, at that time saved
The show was originally conceived as an installation for viewers to have walked
around and between the works. The pieces would have been hung tightly together from the
ceiling and presented as sculptural paintings free standing in the room. Many of the pieces
can be hung in any direction and they have images and words on both sides of the surfaces.
These works were shown originally for Gallery 50 in Bridgeton, NJ, postponed due to
covid from May as a live show to July 2020 as a virtual show. I created an installation on
two tall orchard ladders and a video “tour” of the work. This is their first presentation as
two dimensional objects.
I am the woman and the ship, seeking the shore. I am the materials that are blown
around and left by the storm.
I am also what remains when the storm is over and the healing has arrived.
I want to bring you into the feeling of emerging, of breathing again after being held
under and of finding sometimes hard won freedom in the process.
Thank you for viewing and sharing the feelings.