The artist’s job is to capture his way of seeing life. A noble pursuit indeed, but a pursuit that only the most resilient, cynical, and red-blooded can maintain. It’s done for the sake of truth. The paintings of Darren Lynde Mann have a reciprocal relationship with the world-- seeking to decipher its mysteries while striving to make it more easily understood.
Lynde Mann’s work is not religious, though some marks of divinity can undoubtedly be discovered in his pieces. An enigma reveals itself to the viewer when looking at his paintings. The shapes, the androgynous faces, the lines, the hues with their shadows: they are all taken into consideration, and one realizes then that it was both mother and child, father and mother, an eternal symbol that goes beyond that which only our eyes can see. In Lynde Mann’s paintings, one can also find tokens, objects, vestiges of existence, or the passing of something not fully disclosed. The blur of the image and its hazy shapes contain secrets: reality is always there and it comes before vision. And if one looks steadily enough, with the eye of nature, the eye of a human, the vision materializes into a performance. In Lynde Mann’s art, the human eye is present and reveals itself with an unfiltered tenderness that relies on emotion and the techniques and iconography of the Western masters, akin to Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Caravaggio.
There is something to be said about the tension between negative and positive space in Lynde Mann’s work. Figural representation provides a human form, a character onto which countless storylines can be projected. But absence lends itself to higher specters. The unfilled shape of a mother, old vanguards of ancient Rome, the repetitive face of some everyman Messiah beheaded or in ecstasy or looking up for some retribution--Lynde Mann’s canvases evoke a feeling that traces over the skin like the ethereal fingers of old ghosts. They leave traces that seem to touch down gingerly before ascending back to the eternal--leaving behind only an outline, a face, or an amorphous form. The rest is left to the viewer.
Lynde Mann’s paintings hold a sort of infinite kinetic possibility. The play between the concealment and revealing of certain characters and aspects of their narratives brings to mind an implication of a story that is archetypal. These archetypes are rooted in the forms of the painting but they are not merely the forms themselves--they are us too, playing out our own madonnas, begotten sons, our descents from and ascensions to redemption. Lynde Mann has a keen understanding of universal images as a vessel for the primacy of our emotions. The tenderness with which he renders them feels soft and gentle. The openness of his compositions allows his paintings to stand in a sort of fluid middle, able to occupy a psychic space that is both earthly and universal.
Darren Lynde Mann's solo exhibition 'Memories', presented by Strike Gallery, is on view at the Fitzrovia Chapel from March 23rd - 30th, Pearson Square, London, W1T 3BF.
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