This summer, the Delaplaine’s satellite gallery at the Urbana Regional Library is showcasing the unique 3D painted canvas creations of Lyndie Vantine entitled “Natural Topography.” Considering the immense natural beauty of surrounding Frederick County, the exhibit provides a cool respite from the outside inside.
“On their own, organic forms and landscaping have a presence about them,” Vantine said. “Each one has its own.” Her forms represent simple scenes and symbols that guide the eye to her inspiration.
“I want it to be about land that rolls,” she added. Her shaped series hums with the rhythms of land surface and influence of regional traditions and attempts to forge something new.
Vantine said that her work is painting-related, and she considers herself a painter first and not a sculptor. Stretchers for the canvas are created first, using primarily hazelwood branches and other wood, which forms the frame. She drafts ideas of organic forms and features in landscaping and nature in a sketchbook and paints the canvas accordingly using a palette favoring blues, greens, browns, rust and earth-toned variations. There is a great deal of handiwork involved with the stretching and hardware to construct the frame. “I’m a sewer as well—since the fifth grade,” she said. “This makes the work of stretching and fitting the fabric over the stretchers and branches come naturally. They are all sewing techniques.”
Originally from Buffalo, New York, Vantine resides and has her studio in Manchester. Of her piece, “Hard Compromise,” she said, “I live in a very rural area, and when I walk out onto the fields, there are soybeans and corn growing and it makes a patchwork, a growing together—abstract ideas in each section of the crop field.”
In contrast, the inspiration for “Polliwog Hallow” was childhood summers spent at a cottage on Lake Ontario. “The shoreline creek had a pond with polliwogs. The shapes are their eyes, scum from the pond is the greens and blues in the quiet water.”
She has been a painter since 1986, earning an undergraduate degree from the Philadelphia College of Art and a graduate
degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. “I was doing more relief work at MICA, and I let that explode,” she said. “It was the interaction of the program … to be influenced by others and still make it your own.” There was very little classwork or instruction, and she primarily created in studios with other students—the interaction of ideas, advice and critique coming from herself or peers. “Half of those people from that time I’m still in touch with,” she said. Vantine works in a series and recently began featuring more open pieces such as “Drifters,” “Eclipse,” “Huddle” and “(W)hole in the Sea,” which are in the show. “Strain” features large egg shapes emerging and cracking, “Cradle” resembles a kangaroo’s pocket and “Morf” a green/aqua moon.
Artists can be practical as well, and Vantine spent 25 years in various capacities at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she earned a Master of Liberal Arts. “It filled out the other half of my education,” she said. “I created my own program based on sources to feed my artwork.”
Six years ago, she left Hopkins to concentrate on her art full time. She said it made her more secure to work for a period and not be so focused on art. Now there is time to be more productive and concentrate on contemplative and soothing compositions. “We are bombarded with so much of everything else,” she said.
Vantine’s work has been exhibited at the Delaplaine, Creative Alliance in Baltimore, Susquehanna Art Museum, BlackRock in Germantown, Carroll County Arts Center and other regional spaces. She is “always experimenting and brainstorming in some way” and is currently engaged in two projects—one in Philadelphia and another regional exhibit.
“Natural Topography” is on view at the lower level of the library through August. See more and contact her through her website at www.lvantine.com.