Amy Lin Applies Her Chemical Engineering Background to Intricate Works on Paper
Amy Lin cuts swirling lines from sheets of paper with admirable precision, referencing scientific structures and cosmic patterns in interlocking layers. The artist’s background informs this aesthetic: after studying chemical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Lin worked at Exxon Mobil for a number of years. A selection of her works exploring microcosmic and macrocosmic dimensions of space are now on view in her solo exhibition, “Dreamworlds,” at Addison/Ripley Fine Art in Washington, D.C.
Using color pencil and mixed media on paper, Lin’s dot-filled works resemble beads strung onto a necklace or neurons buzzing on a molecular level. Her work references Yayoi Kusama, whose dotted patterns generate illusory senses of space. Like Kusama, Lin maps out areas of the unconscious mind with dots and draws connections between disparate elements of space.
With titles like Abiotic (2013) and Regeneration (2010), Lin’s scientific influences are made explicit. As the artist once explained, “On one level, the interactions are physical and the dots exist as particles or molecules. On another level, the interactions are social and the dots represent humans.” This rich layering of meanings is profound, if vague. Lin characterizes the dots she draws on paper as analogs for humans, insisting that “from a macroscopic level they are all the same, but close up the differences become apparent.”
In Nexos (2015), waves of variously-sized red dots cascade from an unseen point. At first the dots seem to be the same, but after closer examination, some are cut open to reveal contrasting colors underneath. Orange, blue, and green dots emerge from the same off-white background, similarly connected by a network of curvilinear lines. If representative of individuals in society, the relationships between them appear harmonious and emphatically linked.
Lin’s meticulous drawings suggest several understandings of space—as a field of energy, a constellation of stars, or a mental map of independently linked parts. All three are imagined at once, in layers, and with poetic vision.
“Dreamworlds” is on view at Addison/Ripley Fine Art, Washington, from May 9 - Jun. 27, 2015.