Lynn Umlauf (1942) was born in Austin, Texas into a family of artists. Lynn graduated in Austin with a Bachelor’s degree, and also spent one year at the Academia di Belli Arti in Florence, Italy, then returned to the States to receive a Masters degree from the University of Texas in 1966. She moved to New York in 1966-67. Madelon, her twin sister, introduced Lynn to the painter Michael Goldberg (1924 - 2008) in 1969, and they married 10 years later. Lynn first started showing in Italy. Her first show in New York was with the Hal Bromm Gallery, and her first museum inclusion was with the Whitney Biennial (1975).
Lynn has been spending half of each year living and working both at sculpture and painting, in Italy in a very old farmhouse in southern Tuscany. Her work has increasingly taken the form of large, onsite installations. She also prowls the italian countryside, making improvisatory drawings as inspiration. Drawings are closely connected to sculptures. The reason is when Lynn works on a sculpture she draws at the same time. Her method consists in using sanded and impregnated paper with pastel, watercolor or acrylic medium and often glued on free shaped canvases, which lends a handmade quality close to fresco. The result evokes analogies to shields and masks of primitive societies. But Lynn engages her work in a push and pull movement with inside outside ambiguities in live structures like painting in the air. She wants to stir up all surfaces in « moving » the surface of her stainless steel with color. As noticed by Klaus Kertess: « Wall, canvas and paper become multiple layers of skin, adhering to and peeling away from each other. They are constantly form and reform each other ». (1) The question of light is central. In the drawings she imports light through the use of bronze powders and transparency. Her sculpture is informed by drawing in space using wire, wire mesh, rubber, transparent Plexiglas and occasionally electric motors and light often painted and sometimes very dense. These can hang from the ceiling, off the wall, or thrusting up from the floor, and sometimes outdoors.
« My sculpture relates strongly to the environment in which it is installed, said Lynn, in particular the light, walls and people interacting with it. It has been my ambition to create work that explores my metaphysical self and to discover meaningful new relationships and share them with others. My work translates my personal experience with life, drawing inspiration from surroundings here in New York and East Hampton, or abroad mostly in Italy. I’ve been in the studio on the Bowery for 40 years, where I work with the many drawings, to realize abstraction in the color and form of sculpture. »
(1) Lynn Umlauf, text by Klaus Kertess, Ferrara ed., 1979
On February 23, 2016, a special performance Danspace Project has been presented by Eiko, during Lynn Umlauf ’s exhibition at Zürcher Gallery, NY. More info