Category Archives: work

Image of a painting by Lynn Parotti

Territory

“People who live between two homes often possess a heightened awareness of the intricacies of those spaces they leave and return to. Lynn Parotti’s restless landscapes speak to the sublime beauty and eroding forces of nature but also the precarious human impact. The restless push and pull of oil paint, its malleable and viscous potential and heightened colour, conveys an energy which is both sensuous and unsettling, a duality which references the uncertain condition of our contemporary existence in this world, but also the potential for renewal,…” writes Allison Thompson, Ph.D., art historian and curator living in Barbados, having recently completed a residency at Tate Britain and the Delfina Foundation.

Salty water seeping into marshes and bogs, eroding limestone caverns, and poisoning aquifers feature in this section. The health of coral reefs, the ocean’s natural coastal barriers, becomes the subject for possible future sustainability. Red Tide (algal bloom) was originally the subject of painting in 2004. The concepts in “Territory” encompass the further effects of global warming like sea level rise, coral reef bleaching and overfishing as in Nocturnus Lobatus Gigas (Queen Conch).

Image of a painting by Lynn Parotti

Slick

Parotti stresses the importance of the natural world of the Bahamas as the primary source material of her work such as in that of Inagua, a series focusing on the symbiotic relationship between salt production, the environment, fauna like flamingos and mangroves. Here she uses the importance of mangroves for the role they play in the regeneration of coastlines.

The manner in which the aerial root spikes breathe with upwards growth through the sands resonates through this work as she mimics our breath. Shoals, reef systems and coral such as sea fans have always played central importance in the works focusing on ocean health. Algal blooms like Red Tide are painted with deceptive beauty and intricate detail seducing the unsuspecting viewer unaware of the toxicity.

Hotspots

Phenotypic plasticity is a key mechanism with which organisms can cope with a changing climate, as it allows response to change within a lifetime. Further, it is the ability of one genotype to produce more than one phenotype when exposed to different environments thus critical to survival and continued diversification within the biome.

Image of a painting by Lynn Parotti

Thirst ii

Thirst II was originally exhibited in Relational Undercurrents at MOLAA as a part of Pacific Standard Time LA/LA in September 2017. The exhibition has now travelled to The Wallach Art Gallery, Lenfest Center for the Arts, Columbia University, New York and is now open from June 1 – September 23, 2018.

“The results of Global Water Intelligence’s 2016 Global Water Tariff Survey, published in October 2016, have revealed the world’s domestic water and wastewater tariffs increased by an average of 3.6% in nominal terms between 1st July 2015 and 2016 to reach $1.98/m3. The average is based on a household usage of 15m3/month measured in 384 cities worldwide. This global rise was outstripped by jumps of 12.7% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 10.3% in Latin America, where utilities were forced to respond to sustained drought conditions as a result of the El Niño climate pattern, and macro-economic upheavals which demanded water rate subsidy cuts,” GWI, UK.

According to Circle of Blue, the price of water rose 6% in the 30 major US cities of its survey in 2015 which was up 41% since 2010.

Thirst II was made as an update and direct comparison to Thirst I. This time instead of using 2009 data, seven years later, new data was sourced and four extra panels added keeping the amount of water (100 gallons based on 4,000 gallons consumption) and the currency (USD) constant. Now, 16 cities are represented to include those war torn regions like Damascus, the hosting of the Olympics (Rio de Janeiro), intensive overpopulation (Mexico City) and privatization, Moscow. In short, most cities showed an increase in the cost of clean water supply save for Havana and Aukland, which decreased marginally. Nassau jumped from $.63 (2009) to $3.41 (2016) and San Diego from $1.65 to $3.03.

Image of painting by Lynn Parotti

Thirst i

Thirst I is a composite painting involved with the cost of supplying clean water. Comprised of 12 panels of etched aluminium representing 12 cities around the world, for the most part randomly chosen, it shows at least one city from every continent. Thirst I aims to give a basic overview of what it costs to supply 100 gallons of clean water to these particular societies based on 4,000 gallons of consumption in USD: the data source being Global Water Intelligence and The National Geographic in 2009. Behind every number there is a specific story and varying technologies involving pumping, desalination, purification, logistics, politics, taxes and availability. Places like San Diego, where the cost of getting clean water is quite high at $1.65, is contrasted with Copenhagen which astonishingly costs $3.43. Whereas in Dubai, where you might expect the cost to be quite high, it is just above average at $0.82. Nassau comes in as an average cost but much higher than Havana; whereas the cost to Ireland was nil up to 2015 when it became chargeable due to privatization. One big concern is the dependence and use of fossil water which cannot be replaced such as in areas as diverse as Arabia and the MidWest. The clock is ticking for these areas in the same way as other natural resources as the water supply from aquifers and reservoirs is rapidly diminishing.

“Water does not leave our planet whose surface is 71% covered by seas, and oceans. However, only 2.5% exists as freshwater mainly as ice or groundwater. The distribution for consumption, agriculture and industry is becoming increasingly problematical: too much in some places and not enough in others. As the population increases there is particularly more strain and stress on trying to get safe drinking water where it needs to be,” National Geographic, 2010.

Image of a painting by Lynn Parotti

Works on Aluminium

Large scale etchings are made from drawings using various stop out varnishes on industrial strength aluminium sheets. They are painted with oils and further engraved creating surfaces that are reflective, highly textured, and responsive to light variations. The paintings are hung so that they appear to be floated off the wall.

Inheritance

Amanda Coulson, Director of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas, and Director of Volta NY writes:

“Lynn Parotti’s 12-panel “Inheritance” continues research that started with the photographic cycle, “Slave House,” produced for the NE8 (Eighth National Exhibition) at The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas in 2016. In the first series, Parotti created lush images that blended the desolate ruins of a former great house on the island of Exuma with the stunning stately home of the Rothschild family, which is still maintained in all its extravagance by the UK’s National Trust; the series spoke to land ownership, the rights of slave descendants, and what the former colonizer still values or cares to remember or record. In the current series, Parotti examines the actual worth of the trade, by copying the elegant handwriting that accorded a value to living beings in various ledgers. The names—though British—are not uncommon to us in The Bahamas, as many citizens still carry the surnames of the former slave masters; the prices ascribed to each family is the amount the British Government paid as compensation for loss of “property” when slavery was abolished. To pay the over 46,000 claims—applied for by people of all classes, not only the wealthy, so deep was slavery entrenched in everyday life—Great Britain took out a loan of 20 million pounds (£10m for slave-owning families in the Caribbean and Africa, and the other half for absentee owners living in Britain), borrowed from the aforementioned Rothschild family. It should be noted while John Austin, received £20,511 for his 415 slaves, (a sum worth nearly £17million today), the slaves were not even given their “40 acres and a mule” to begin a new life, with many ending up as sharecroppers for former masters.”

Additional photography:
HALLE 14, Leipzig | Büro für Fotografie

Slave House

Holly Bynoe, chief curator of the National Art Gallery of the Bahamas references this series in the Nassau Guardian in Dec 2016 as “….collaged images that eerily echo to the former grandeur of those few who benefitted from the colonial era and the ruins that remain…..” . Colonial slavery has shaped our world and we are living with this legacy. Photographs from Slave House, The Forest, Great Exuma, the Bahamas and Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamphire, England have been blended to contrast the grotesque imbalance that existed then and the shocking inequality which is still prevalent now; Only, the form is different. These ‘houses’ resonate with themes of economic dislocation, migration, slavery and movement of peoples.

Merged photographs from these two dwellings, blend the boundaries, contrast the grandeur with the decrepitude, the luxuriant with the scant, the boundless with the chained to highlight these journeys.

In the settlement called The Forest of Great Exuma, Bahamas, “Slave House” is locally referred to as ‘Nigga House’ owned by the Bowe’s. It was the subject of the pivotal land tenure Bahamian case of 1961-62 under the 1959 Quieting of Titles Act which set the precedent of generation property land titles in the Bahamas.

Waddesdon Manor was built between 1874-1889 in the style of a lavish French Chateau for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to house his extensive collection of art treasures and to entertain his aristocratic and royal friends in the English countryside such as Queen Victoria. It is now owned by The National Trust who has upheld its original grandeur.

Nathan Meyer Rothschild was praised for his role in the abolition of the slave trade through his part-financing of the 20 million pound British government buyout of the plantation industry’s slaves. However, in 2009 it was claimed that as part of banking dealings with a slave owner, Rothschild used slaves as collateral. The Rothschild bank denied the claims and said that Nathan Mayer Rothschild had been a prominent civil liberties campaigner with many like-minded associates and “against this background, these allegations appear inconsistent and misrepresent the ethos of the man and his business”. Reported by the Financial Times June 26th 2009

Slave House, Exuma is now a dilapidated wreck of a shameful past occupying disused land in the most beautiful of settings surrounded by emerald green seas and crystalline beaches where there is little opportunity for young people due to underdeveloped infrastructure, deprivation and the typical exodus of young people to the city, in this case, Nassau.

The phrase “To Cross this Sea was not in My Plan,” was uttered by a distraught Libyan refugee on the BBC news after having been rescued from a failing, inadequate boat off the coast of Greece.

Read more on NAGB

Image of a painting by Lynn Parotti

Green Fuse

Drawing upon the Dylan Thomas poem from which the exhibition borrows its name, Parotti’s oil paintings comment on the flow of energy which drives not only life, but simultaneously destruction. Her colour-saturated views of river cityscapes at night are described by rushes of electric light abstracted in oils. “I have always used water to describe concepts,” she says. “Water is a metaphor for the moral energy of people, time and place.” For her, the Thames is a powerful way of exploring ongoing themes of the temporality of life and her new works allude to the energy crisis and the fragility of our surroundings. These concerns bring Dylan Thomas’s poem to life in a new way, and highlight the contemporary relevance of his “green fuse”: that which fuels and delights us will also be our fall.

Image of installation by Lynn Parotti

Tar Baby

‘Tar Baby’ is derived from “The Wonderful Tar Baby Story”, the second of the Uncle Remus Plantation stories where Br’er Fox uses Tar-Baby (a doll made of tar and turpentine) to cunningly entrap Br’er Rabbit through trickery for his personal gain.

Thermal Expansion, Melting Glaciers and Polar Ice Caps, including Ice Loss from Greenland and West Antarctica are causing sea level rise.

Previously in 2010, the Mean Prediction of water level rise as 4.9 feet (1.5 metres) and was taken from reports & articles by; the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Dr. Orrin Pilkey (Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, Director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines (PSDS) at Duke University), the Department of Water Engineering, UNESCO-IHE Delft, The Netherlands, The United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009, Martin Vermeer of the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. At this time skepticism about global warming and the subsequent sea level rise was rife and fuelled by personal economic interests.

According to National Geographic in 2016, “most predictions say the warming of the planet will continue and likely will accelerate. Oceans will likely continue to rise as well, but predicting the amount is an inexact science. A recent study says we can expect the oceans to rise between 2.5 and 6.5 feet (0.8 and 2 meters) by 2100, enough to swamp many of the cities along the U.S. East Coast. More dire estimates, including a complete meltdown of the Greenland ice sheet, push sea level rise to 23 feet (7 meters), enough to submerge London”. Nearly a quarter of the world’s 7+billion population live with 100 km of the shoreline and within 100 m of sea level elevation.