Category Archives: work

Inherit The Earth

Excerpts from Catalogue Essays by Dr. Tatiana Flores At the Threshold of the Unknown: The Ecofeminism of Lynn Parotti and Dr. Allison Thompson Transitory Nature: Reflections on Water and Clouds

View the show catalogue

Dr. Tatiana Flores writes,
“For a number of years, Parotti’s primary subject matter has been water—not the expansive vistas experienced from the beach or the air, described by Stacy Alaimo as “the transcendent visions of an Anthropocene planet where neither the homo sapiens as an embodied creature nor all the rest of the species are rendered visible.”1 Parotti, rather, immerses herself and the viewer into oceanic depths, reminding us, as Astrida Neimanis does, that “[w]e are all bodies of water.”2 Often the waterscapes that the artist depicts—of sickened coral and polluted seas—are drawn from underwater photographs that she takes herself. Others are imagined or derived from images taken by others. What she has been trying to make visible is the interconnection between humans and their environment. What befalls the ocean and its creatures is of consequence to us. The painting From Water We Came (2017-20) drives this point home. A large, almost square, canvas of multiple tonalities of blues and varying textures, the painting’s forms suggest water in various states but also seeds, leaves, and flowers. An abstracted feminine figure appears to be overseeing the act of creation. The relation of the painting to Neimanis’ essay on “hydrofeminism” is uncanny. It is almost as though Parotti had set out to illustrate the following passage:

As a facilitator, water is the milieu, or the gestational element, for other watery bodies as well. Mammal, reptile, or fish; sapling or seed; river delta or backyard pond—all of these bodies are necessarily brought into being by another body of water that dissolves, partially or completely, to water the bodies that will follow…. Gestational waters are also themselves (in) a body of water, and participate in the greater element of planetary water that continues to sustain us, protect us, and nurture us, both extra- and intercorporeally, beyond these amniotic beginnings. Water connects the human scale to other scales of life, both unfathomable and imperceptible. We are all bodies of water, in the constitutional, the genealogical, and the geographical sense.3

Dr. Allison Thompson writes,
Inherit the Earth is Lynn Parotti’s impassioned call to action. She presents us with a body of richly painted, seductive landscapes and seascapes but the underlying message is the fragility and compromised health of our environment and our obligation to do all in our powers to tend to the urgent needs of our planet before we destroy it. Global warming, water shortages, toxic pollution, catastrophic storms, out-of-control fires: how much of this is the result of human excess, greed, hubris and folly? We have abused this planet and the consequences are mounting. Through her painting process, Parotti takes on nothing less than the urgency of the planet Earth under threat, our own knowing complicity in this precarious circumstance and the dire need for response. What will there be left for our children to inherit?

Parotti’s relationship to place is informed by a social conscience fuelled by research. It is not just the human interaction with nature, but increasingly our impact on nature. Her landscapes function as social geographies, exhibiting the footprints – carbon and otherwise – of our impact. The scenes contain the tracks and traces of our responsibility. Water, in particular, has remained an ever-present force in Lynn’s work – its visual beauty, its fluid movement, its life-sustaining essence; but also its erosive force, its destructive capabilities and its endangered state. For Parotti, water is connectivity; not only in the networked systems of oceans, rivers and lakes, but also as an elemental part of the human body. It is the essential element on which all life depends and its growing scarcity threatens our very existence.

In an opinion piece written for the New York Times following Hurricane Dorian’s devastating impact in the first days of September 2019, art historian Erica Moiah James noted that while the Bahamas has a tiny carbon footprint, “it carries the burden of being ground zero for our climate crisis.”4 Small islands in particular are affected by climate change in ways that are unfamiliar, unprecedented and urgent, according to Dr. Michael Taylor, a Caribbean climate scientist based at the University of the West Indies. “Cumulatively, the science of projections suggests that the region’s climate will be altered beyond recognition. This is to say, it will be outside the bounds of our lived experience to date. It will not just be unfamiliar at times, it may be unprecedented all the time.”5

  1. Stacy Alaimo, “Wanting All the Species to Be: Extinction, Environmental Visions, and Intimate Aesthetics,” Australian Feminist Studies 34:102, 405, DOI: 10.1080/08164649.2019.1698284.
  2. Astrida Neimanis, “Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water,” in Undutiful Daughters: New Directions in Feminist Thought and Practice, edited by Henriette Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni, and Fanny Söderbäck (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2012), 85.
  3. Neimanis, “Hydrofeminism,” 87.
  4. Erica Moiah James, “Opinion: Hurrican Dorian Makes Bahamians the Latest Climate-Crisis Victims,” The New York Times, September 4, 2019.
  5. Michael Taylor, “Climate Change in the Caribbean- Learning Lessons from Irma and Maria,” The Guardian, October 6, 2017.


2 Degrees C

Coral reefs, an important focus in much of Parotti’s recent paintings, are home to the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem on the planet. This in turn sustains a sea life upon which more than 500 million people depend for survival, most of these in poor countries. With global warming and climate change, reefs have suffered coral bleaching and are at risk of extinction. The title of this series, 2 Degrees C refers to the imperative to limit global average temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if the coral reefs are to survive.

Bleaching is a stress response that causes coral animals to expel the microscopic algae (zooxanthellae) whose photosynthesis provides the energy needed to build three-dimensional reef structures. It only takes a spike of 1-2°C to cause bleaching, and carbon emissions have caused a 1°C increase in global surface temperature since pre-industrial times.

Reefs around the world have suffered from mass bleaching events for three consecutive years. Iconic reefs such as the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in the United States have all experienced their worst bleaching on record with devastating effects. The bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017, for instance, killed around 50% of its corals.

The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has reported that (1.5degrees) 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit could be reached in as little as 11 years—and almost certainly within 20 years without major cuts in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Even if such cuts were to begin immediately it would only delay, not prevent, 2 degrees Celsius of global warming.

Exhibition detail: Scope Miami Beach 2019


An adaptation of a line from the national anthem, To The Rising Sun, Bahamaland, focuses on the state of reef health and the role of the mangrove as protector of coastline and nursery to breeding marine species. Or does it cynically bear witness to our risen temperatures and the current climate crisis in our man made Anthropocene?

The historical objectification of coral and the wonderment of under the sea is replaced by a full embrace of the reality with which our island nation is faced as the tension in these canvases relay a fracturing beauty. And all this is taking place in the here and now; albeit sooner than speculated.

Time sensitive imagery of aerial views of reefs dancing under the sun’s rhythm relate a tale of disrespect, conquest and shame. We have done this. Our momento will become that of a former observation of the vibrancy, differentiation and spectacle of nature from which we disassociated ourselves and pillaged.

In truth, we are as much of an accessory of the coral reef as the once teeming fish were; for on it and on them, we depend. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “Approximately three billion people in the world rely on both wild-caught and farmed seafood as their primary source of protein.” Further, ten percent of the world’s population depends on fisheries for their livelihoods.

In the paintings amorphous entities float freely within a disguised pool resembling Frutti di Mare: whilst, we wait, and scramble for solutions as our natural indemnity fails.

Time Under Tension

A phrase used during fitness training, ‘Time Under Tension’ refers to how long a muscle is under strain during a set – referencing the stress through the mounting pain that the muscles endure to strengthen and lengthen. Lynn Parotti’s exhibition of the same name uses this phrase to bring to light the constant pressure that coral reefs endure as a result of the compounding impact of our human footprint and subsequent effects of global warming. The metaphor continues as ‘time’ is of paramount importance to the warming seas’ effect on coral.

This new series of paintings titled ‘Bahama Land’ depicts Bahamian reefs in full, exuberant color: images of a landscape that will almost certainly be lost. Created during a time when news headlines read “Major Climate Report Describes A Strong Risk Of Crisis As Early As 2040” (7th October 2018, New York Times)*, Parotti’s paintings give reason to take action and protect the environment around us. Coral bleaching results in no habitat for fish and sealife, leading to no food for sustenance living in poorer communities and the eventual destruction of the food chain.

Looking to The Bahamas as her primary inspiration for this work, Parotti is particularly attuned to the vulnerability of small island states, and paints hauntingly vivid views of our seascapes that act as both love letters and epitaphs. Art Historian and curator Allison Thompson Ph.D., describes Parotti’s work as “restless landscapes”, stating that “The 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.”

Parotti’s thick and descriptive application of oil paint depicts how it might feel to be in the ocean witnessing the distortion of the reef’s form through a series of expressive and compelling brush-marks. These alluring paintings offer spaces that envelop the viewer, affronting us with the pain of losing the crucial importance of our reefs first hand.

Lynn Parotti’s TIME UNDER TENSION is an ode to the Bahamian seascape and stresses the need for environmental conservation and action on carbon emissions. Like her former series Tar Baby, Territory, Slick and Green Fuse, this new work, Bahama Land is heavy with warnings of a disappearing part of our home, ultimately encouraging reverence for a space filled with nostalgia, beauty and erosion.

*In reference to the comprehensive assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released in Incheon , South Korea, 7th Oct. 2018.

Image of a painting by Lynn Parotti


“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


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.

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.


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, “Enslave 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