Lynn Basa discusses her new exhibition ‘Hoodoos and Other Anomalies‘
On Jan 8, 2022, hundreds of small wind-carved sand formations appeared overnight on the shore of Lake Michigan near St. Joseph. Rarely seen and short-lived, these “sand hoodoos” became the launching point for Lynn Basa’s new series of ceramic sculptures. More inspiration than documentation, they are a continuation of Basa’s process to foreground the essential nature of materials by setting up situations for accidents to happen. After wheel-throwing the forms she allows gravity to take its course by slumping, dropping, and battering the clay while it is still malleable. The glaze firing adds the final unpredictable element.
Basa’s paintings are handled similarly. She works in encaustic, an ancient medium combining oil pigments and beeswax that is applied while melted and fixed by heat. Not coincidentally, it shares some primary characteristics with clay in the way it reacts unpredictably to heat, can be layered and carved, and is at its best when least controlled. Her process acts out the personal. She scrapes the faces off of paintings that took days to build up, not only to reveal the memory of what happened beneath but as an action of dissatisfaction with what she had accomplished. Alternately revealing and concealing, she is always searching. She is influenced by the angst and awkwardness in the non precious handling of materials by artists such as Phyllida Barlow, Ruth Duckworth, Peter Voulkos, and Neanderthals.