Arts & Culture / Mosaic / October 30, 2019

Artist of the week: Painter uses art for environmental activism

Lynette Lombard wants her landscape paintings to represent something greater.

“I think I want my work to find some way in which it really speaks about the landscape and what it feels like to be in that landscape to a very broad audience that deals with environmental activism,” she said.

Though she started out as a sculptor, Lombard eventually found her way to painting and developed a great passion for it.

“I started to paint, and I couldn’t get the color of these oranges on a table. And it drove me nuts, it made me so frustrated that I was just hooked,” Lombard said.

After coming to Knox to teach, her focus shifted away from being a figure painter to painting landscapes. Lombard expressed that one of the most exciting parts of landscape painting is the challenges it presents. She often finds herself working on landscapes around Knox and Galesburg, at the Green Oaks Field Station and during the summers in Spain.

“I love painting something that’s bigger than myself, and it’s always challenging out there. I like confronting the elements,” she said.

After graduate school in New York, Lombard got a job at Knox to see if teaching art worked for her and has decided to stay since then. She cites the relationships between everybody in the art department as a big reason she has stayed.

“I stay here because as a department, we’re collegial. Most art departments are vicious, very competitive and cutthroat. I think its nice, although we don’t agree on everything, we respect each other,” Lombard said.

Lombard finds it important to be the one to instill the fundamentals of art within students and provide them with that basis for artistic expression. She remains passionate about teaching Knox students that are, in her eyes, strong and demanding.

The support that Knox provides the faculty has also been invaluable to Lombard because it has allowed her work to develop into new forms.

Lombard wants her art to evoke thought into the viewer in whatever way is possible. Through her landscape work, themes of the climate crisis and rising sea levels are something that she wants to explore. She hopes that through connecting environmental activism and her works, people will be inspired to pursue change.

“I think now there’s such an urgency to say something about this incredible nature that we’re losing and destroying. I feel as though there’s a political component to my work,” she said.

She strives to create meaning that is bigger than herself through all her work. The physical connection she develops with everything she creates allows for that.

“I think it’s through your whole body that you experience, and that physicality comes into my work,” Lombard said.

Lynette Lombard doesn’t strive to portray the niceness of nature. Through exploring how uncomfortable and surprising it can be, she hopes that her work can invoke something deeper in those that view it.


Tags:  art Artist of the week environmental activism landscape painting Lynette Lombard

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