Moments in-between and metamorphis: Lloyd McMullen

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Lloyd McMullen explaining her different found object pieces to instructor Paula Bullwinkel.

By Katya Agatucci | The Broadside (Contact: kagatucci2@cocc.edu)

A childhood interest in found objects led artist Lloyd McMullen to center a one-person exhibit around it. As a child, McMullen and her twin sister lived on a small, rural road. As they were exploring the newly tarred road one day, they found bits of glass in the tar. The bits of glass were seen as diamonds to McMullen and her sister, and they were plucked out as if they were pieces of treasure.

“We were so young. If I would find a thumbtack, I would wear them in my clothes and and pretend that it was jewelry. I have always loved found objects and that has just increased in time when I recognize the stories that these pieces tell, and where they came from before. They had a life and then they were moved beyond that life. That’s their metamorphis, to come back here,” McMullen said.

A series of found object and image-transfer pieces, textured pods, large multi-media moths, and large paintings inspired by pieces of literature created McMullen’s one-person exhibition for April in the Pence Pinckney Gallery.

One of two three-dimensional pod pieces displayed, titled “Still learning,” made out of acrylic mediums, burnt wire frame, sewing patterns and metal pieces.

There were also reworked pieces mixed into the exhibition that McMullen had shown in the past. “I’ve done many shows in the past and I never try to repeat what I’m doing,” some of the pieces were more different mediums than solely paint, and they were a stretch for McMullen to create. “Every show requires that I need to do new work. I have to try something new. I wanted people to say ‘I kind of recognize her work, but there’s something new here,’ that’s my goal.”

The moth theme came from a metaphor about how knowledge is transformation, and how everyone goes through different stages of metamorphosis throughout each individuals lives and careers according to McMullen.

“I felt like there is something in the stage of metamorphosis or as we are going through time, we don’t recognize what we are going through, but we have that period where we have to be patient because of what comes later.”

The entire show was started with a piece as an homage to Bill Hoppe, which is a large multi-panel piece based off of the first Shakespeare play that McMullen had read, Macbeth, in Act 5, Scene 5.

“To me it is true as artists, our life is our work and and our work is our life, so I painted him ‘Birnam Wood,” McMullen said. “The whole play inspired me as a young child with the magic and then the surprises that followed.I always loved the soliloquy in Act 5, Scene 5 because the language was so full of meaning.”

Hoppe first heard about McMullen when he arrived to Bend in 2000. “I asked around about who are the artists, who I should get to know and who are doing interesting work. The name that came up most often was Lloyd McMullen.”

As well as found objects and three-dimensional pieces, McMullen enjoys working in layers. “There’s a lot that I’ve spent time hiding images in, hiding words in them, I like to work in layers of acrylic and found objects because I have this thing about time. Every little moment of time is layered.”

A large moth painted on a canvas, titled “To Blanche/#MeToo”, addresses a piece of literature and a more recent political movement. “I remember writing a paper on blanch de bou, and how she’s described as a moth and she’s very flighty. As I did it, I was writing the words from the play on there, and it just made me so mad, the way that women are treated. The treatment of women has not changed much since the play was made,which is why I made it #metoo. ” McMullen said.

McMullen said that the majority of the art work displayed was inspired from writing or the idea of time. “A lot of these pieces started from a place of pure literature, but they went into a place that is more topical for me.”

The “So Far/As I know” exhibition will be on display until April 28. 

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