• Bianca Vinther

Pro Life, Pro Choice, Pro Boundless Creativity: ART TALK with Lindsay McCulloch, American Artist

In a small town in the US, about half an hour outside of Washington, DC, a young girl named Lindsay McCulloch watched her mother paint and teach art from home, and her father repurpose things creatively. She wanted to be creatively involved too. So she began to draw and to paint. In 2005, she received her Master of Fine Arts in painting from Boston University. Nine years later she became Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland.


American artist Lindsay McCulloch in her studio in Maryland, USA.
Lindsay McCulloch in her studio. Courtesy of the artist.

Having exhibited her works internationally and won numerous awards since 1999, including the Maryland State Arts Council's Individual Artist Award for Painting in 20019, Lindsay McCulloch is an accomplished artist who is continuously developing her art and her approach to abstraction with speed light.


However, Lindsay is far more than an artist and a professor of visual arts. She’s a wife and a mother of two who is deeply involved with social issues and concerned about the present and future of mankind. To me, she’s like an acrobat who jumps in rapid succession and manages to juggle tasks to perfection!


Lindsay is a profoundly feeling, understanding and compassionate person who can listen deeply not only to herself but also to others. She’s driven by a huge desire for change, for being a better human being, and for “finding a way to function in the world that seems meaningful” for her.


As she explained to me, she strives to make a positive difference in the world around her and to “leave it in a better place than how she found it”. She also has a heart that is remarkably open and that can see beyond appearances and the limits of physical vision. Like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote in The Little Prince:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

The conversation I had with Lindsay on 28 May 2022 gave me hope, light, and lots of inspiration. In this podcast episode, Lindsay discussed the meaning of change, the tension between being a mother and an artist, her artistic development, and the stages of her creative process. She also talked about the female artists who influenced her art, like Elizabeth Murray and Cecily Brown, her sources of inspiration and creativity, and how she deals with artist block.


Her art, as well as her work as a teacher and, more recently, as a protester for women's rights, is a powerful example to emulate – an example of empathy, patience, and strength, of resilience and faith in the power of good and togetherness.


I wholeheartedly invite you to read my introduction to Lindsay’s art below, and to listen to my ART TALK with her on The Pointless Artist Blog > ART TALK with Lindsay McCulloch, or on The Pointless Artist Podcast on Anchor.fm, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.


Installation entitled "Just like Heaven" by the American artist Lindsay McCulloch.
"Just like Heaven" (oil and acrylic on Dibond) by Lindsay McCulloch. Courtesy of the artist.

At the start of her career, Lindsay focused solely on figurative painting, which she was truly in love with and used as a metaphor for many invisible things, like emotions and thoughts. However, the way people referenced her works marked a turning point in her development as an artist: she realised that her paintings were so much more than a portrait of a person that her audience would recognise.


Therefore, her next move was to let go of the figurative and head into urban landscapes before shifting gears and delving into abstraction. Experimenting with shapes and materials like paper, and creating dimensional artworks that would turn the wall into a negative space slowly gained more and more attention in her studio.


A wide selection of Lindsay's installations and paper sculptures (or sculptural paintings, if you prefer) were on display at her most recent exhibition, Form/Play at the Shockoe Artspace in Virginia until the end of May 2022. The picture below shows the work "Double Rainbow" that was on display at the exhibition.


Installation entitled "Double Rainbow" by the American artist Lindsay McCulloch.
"Double Rainbow" by Lindsay McCulloch at the Shockoe Artsapce in Virginia. Courtesy of the artist.

For me, Lindsay’s parcours from representation to abstraction and from traditionally flat compositions to three-dimensionality is a way of breaking free from all confines and limitations. Gestural, dynamic, and full of emotions, her Dimensional Paintings created with a Xacto knife or scissors literally jump out of the wall, becoming alive. They’re bright, invigorating, spontaneous, and playful: a true expression of Lindsay’s incredible soul!


Lindsay speaks with a gentle, yet powerful voice: the voice of a woman, a mother, an artist, a teacher, and a heart that feels and fights for others. A voice that raises in support of women’s rights that have been abused and outrageously taken away after too many years of struggle. The voice of freedom, unity, understanding, and empathy; the voice of compassion and love. A voice that can change the world.


Her Dimensional Paintings made me think, among many other things, of Henri Matisse’s paper cut-outs and of the lovely children’s book Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter. In particular, I was reminded of a touching statement in the aforementioned book: “Are some of the stars that we see at night coming to us from Henri’s scissors? Perhaps.” I wonder if some of the stars we see at night are echoes or some sort of magic mirrors of Lindsay's paper sculptures, like the sky responding to the beauty of humans' works ...


Here's her artist statement, which sums up her concerns, aims, and approach to making art superbly.

"I am fascinated by limits, boundaries and oppositions. What are the limits of my materials? What are the limits of my ideas? What are the limits of my references, and can disparate references work together in one piece? Can I make a flat painting that appears dimensional? Can I make a dimensional artwork using a 2d painting vocabulary? Can I form something new that feels familiar? Can I be both serious and playful with my work? The desire to create and play at the margins forms the backbone of this series of work." (Lindsay McCulloch)

If this has stirred your interest, then listen to my ART TALK with Lindsay McCulloch on The Pointless Artist Blog > ART TALK with Lindsay McCulloch, or on The Pointless Artist Podcast on Anchor.fm, Spotify, and Apple Podcasts.


Paper sculpture by the American artist Lindsay McCulloch.
"BOMB (Bans Off My Body)" by Lindsay McCulloch. Courtesy of the artist.

Via The Pointless Artist Blog and Podcast, I support the creative energy of life and the artists who contribute to transforming this world into a freer, kinder, more inclusive, caring, transparent, and compassionate place to live. I firmly believe in the passion for art, the importance of sharing knowledge and experiences, and the power of personal stories to bring us together.


Thank you for reading this blog post till the end. If you’ve got something to add, please comment on this blog post below, drop me an e-mail, or pm me on Instagram @the_pointless_artist. I'd love to hear from you!

 

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Recognise your pointlessness and keep creating!


From Germany with love,


Bianca Vinther

 

#processdrivenart #processdrivenartist #papercutouts #dimensionalpainting #collageart #shapedpainting #gesturalart #papersculpture #sculpturalpainting #bemorecreative #bansoffmybody #womensrightsarehumanrights

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