The East End has inspired generations of artists — Montauk-based Lindsay Bardwil is among them. With a draw toward natural materials and mixed-media works (surf boards among them), Bardwil’s pieces give you at once a sense of place, texture and flow, drawing you in with both soft and bold palates and work that, even in a stationary state, has movement.
From September 21 to October 10, her exhibition “Metamorphic” will be at Montauk’s The Lucore Art. And Saturday, September 30, she’ll be on hand from 5 to 8 p.m. for the show’s official opening there. Southforker caught up with Bardwil to talk about nature, inspiration and what moves her (and moved her to Montauk).
SOUTHFORKER: Let’s talk about the title of this show, “Metamorphic.” Is the work inspired by emotional/personal metamorphosis? A metamorphosis in your work? An idea that’s more about the world around you? All of the above?
LINDSAY BARDWIL: All of the above. It’s been a transformational year for me in many aspects; professionally, personally, spiritually… my perspective towards a lot of things in my life and in our experiences as human beings has shifted and that has in turn been reflected in my work and processes.
The word metamorphosis has multiple meanings, though. One is most simply put: about a complete transformation. But ‘metamorphic’ is also a geological term; “denoting or relating to rock that has undergone transformation by heat, pressure, or other natural agencies,” which really feels symbolic in a multitude of ways considering the materials that I use, but also metaphorically it truly does relate back to the natural metamorphosis we go through as human beings throughout many times in our life. Outside forces, life experiences, literal and symbolic “heat and pressure” that forces transformation, no matter how hard we resist.
SF: In this series, you talk about a “radical shift towards a harmonious coexistence with nature.” How does your work create that vision and space of harmony in nature for you?
LB: We all know how inharmoniously humanity lives with nature, and it really is only getting worse. Personally, I’ve slowly been shifting the way I work and the materials I work with to more accurately align with my intentions and overall continuous message. No one is perfect but I feel we can all make small changes in how we live and work to lessen our ecological footprints. Over many years I’ve made so many changes in my home and personal life in this fashion, and I realized that the work I produce also should rightfully go through that transformation as well. Less waste, non-toxic materials, creative and sustainable alternatives to processes, which in turn have brought me closer to the natural energetic grounding and connection that I seek with my work and materials to begin with.
SF: What are the different mediums you work with in this series?
LB: This series is my first that is comprised of almost 100 percent natural materials. Minus the non-toxic gel I use to apply and seal the materials to the linen, everything on these canvases is unaltered and from the earth; various types of sand, stones, and shells and quartz and granite mica. There is no paint whatsoever used in the pieces.
SF: You listened to a lot of classical music while working on this series – what were you listening to and how did it create the right head space for you?
LB: I have different playlists that are comprised of all different types of classical music. Some older works and some more modern pieces. I’ve always loved classical music but recently got really back into listening to it while I work. It’s incredible for concentration and studies have shown that classical lowers your cortisol levels, makes us more emotional, as well as affecting the brain’s spatial-temporal reasoning, which has to do with cognitive understanding of how things can fit into spaces. My moods and energy are very sensitive to music so I thought it would be interesting to see the effects that would come from sticking to one genre of music throughout the creation process of an entire series. Classical definitely activates my brain in a more specific way than any other music. I’m able to find the space between intuition and intention while remaining in a very calm but also focused headspace.
SB: In what ways do you hope your work inspires those who view it to consider and act more responsibly regarding ecological stewardship?
LB: I intend for my work to invoke similar feelings that we get when we are in natural environments …that peace and calm. And to be reminded of places that make us feel more like our truest selves. Hopefully in turn that plants some sort of a seed to seek out nature, admire and revere it, and recognize its vital role in humanity’s well being. That it’s not just a resource to be exploited for the things we need, but truly apart of who we are as living beings on this planet. At the core of it all, we’re all one with the earth and each other.
The Lucore Art is located at at 97 Euclid Avenue, Montauk, and is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. The gallery is closed on Wednesdays.