Lynda Litchfield’s current work turns an everyday object upside down both literally and figuratively, challenging notions of the expected and ordinary.
Utilitarian objects that hardly seem worth a second thought, humble clementine crates are transformed by Lynda Litchfield’s creativity into unique, thought-provoking pieces of art. She primarily works in encaustic and oil on panel, but Litchfield had kept a pile of crates in her studio for a while, intrigued by their potential. Searching for a way to relate her work to quotidian aspects of life, inspiration struck. “At some point, I picked up a crate out of the pile, turned it upside down, and hung it on the wall,” Litchfield says. “It became an object I wanted to paint on.”
From there, she began using them as her canvas, painting the crates inside and out and embellishing them with abstract markings. Displayed with the bases facing outward, the crates resemble shadowboxes in reverse, far removed from the fruit containers one sees at the grocery store. Inspired by “rectangles of late-day winter light reflected on a wall,” Litchfield painted the crate’s interiors bright orange to extraordinary effect. “The orange of the crate glows and reflects, lighting up the empty space within,” Litchfield explains. The fiery glow emanating from beneath the crates imbues them with an otherworldly quality, as they seem to float away from the wall. In this way, the crates transcend their utility as both receptacle and painting surface to embody the artwork itself, like a sculpture. Litchfield was drawn to the way the holes, industrial staples, and footed corners became a “structure” to complement her “intuitive marks and invented forms.”
The fluidity of Litchfield’s brushstrokes is alive with spontaneity. Maintaining “a studio practice that embraces immediacy, accident, and imperfection,” her style is loose and instinctual. “I can’t explain why I make certain decisions while painting except to say I am responding to what is in front of me,” says Litchfield. Perhaps that is why she has a knack for abstraction: its provocative nature encourages a lively interaction between the artist, the work, and the viewer.
June Fitpatrick Gallery | junefitzpatrick.com