Clyde Lynds – Sculptor

by Traci Sampson

The Studio for Visual Technologies in Fine Art


Clyde Lynds began painting in 1957, training in the classic realist tradition. His early paintings, mainly still lifes, explored the effects of light on surfaces, edges and objects. These works deepened Lynds' interest in light itself, leading him to experiment with various light mediums, including polarized, reflected, diffracted, projected and laser light. During the 1960's and '70's, he investigated the applications of many different technologies in painting, sculpture and installation.

Like many artists working during that period, Lynds felt that the use of new materials was integral to the creation of innovative art experiences. However, unlike many of the artists who were also experimenting with technology at that time, he maintained a firm aesthetic commitment to the traditional painterly concerns in which he was trained. As one contemporary critic noted, "Lynds chose to use the 'new' materials - rather than be used by them. This he accomplished with unusual finesse and a stalwart resistance to gimmickry..." Consequently, the work he created, from the mid-sixties to the present, reveals the potential of new technologies to articulate complex, mature aesthetic ideals.

Working with fiber optics in the early seventies he visualized a medium of realistic or super-realistic 'painting', and developed precise techniques for composing light fibers into subtle and complicated imagery. This innovation in material and technique enabled the artist to create an expressive art directly relating to the human experience - from light.

These innovative works were exhibited in a series of international solo and group exhibitions in the mid-seventies. Among the plethora of lightworks being shown at this time, his distinctive craftsmanship and elegant, refined aesthetic prompted the New York Times to deem these works "the most interesting light paintings, or light sculptures...since Thomas Wilfred's Clavilux fifty years ago."


In 1981, with the same aesthetic commitment he brought to the light paintings and the same dissatisfaction with current artistic concepts to address the uses of light as they relate to the human experience, Lynds turned to sculpture. Over a period of two years he developed methods for combining light with stone. Paul Master-Karnik in the catalog for the show Connections - Science into Art, describes one aspect of this work:

While the focus of CONNECTIONS is on the contemporary edge of science/art, this does not imply that art works are evanescent, willing to be replaced as rapidly as the technologies of yesterday. They intend to make a statement about today, leaving a record of our existence much as ancient civilizations left stone inscriptions and architecture. The reference toward such permanence becomes specific in Clyde Lynds "Stele" series, constructed with concrete, optical fibers, aluminum and electronics. This is a modern day marker, dramatically juxtaposing solid stone and waves of light. It is symbolic of the joined dimensions of tradition and change that this exhibit hopes to illustrate.

Lynds' paintings and sculptures, in both traditional and technological media, have been extensively exhibited world wide since 1967. He has had numerous one-man shows in New York, Toronto and Washington, D.C. Additionally, he has participated in group shows in the United States, Canada, England, Germany, Switzerland and Japan. He has been awarded many prizes and fellowships for his work, which is found in public, private and corporate collections the world over.


Last Updated: March 18, 2006