Lance Sinnema

Here we will look at the piece Lance presented as well as an expanded look at his artist statement and the development of this particular body of work.

For a number of years now I have been interested in combining text and images that relate to landscape and our relationship with it.  In the beginning this took the form of wrapping or covering the images with plastic that had text cut out to partially reveal the image beneath.  Recently, the text has been integrated into the image more fully.

I believe this quote from my Artist Statement will give you an idea why I went this route, “The necessity of combining image and language to fully describe an experience with landscape is inescapable.  To provide an image is to show only half the story.  To tell a tale is to describe only half the visual experience.  Words and images are wedded descriptors in our everyday lives.  My recent work is a reworking and continued exploration of previous efforts in combining altered images and text.  It is a refining of the explorative nature of language with the static nature of images.”

Nine shades of cinder, char, ash, soot and smoke.  A study in simultaneous contrast and other observable phenomena. 2020, latex on wall, 96×92 inches

This is the piece I created for the Fall 2020 Faculty Biennial.  Thematically it is a continued turn toward issues humanity faces as I witness a world we have turned against ourselves.  My most recent works have been painted directly on the wall, reflecting the fleeting nature of our time here.  The earth will abide, however our place in it is transient, and inevitably ends with the wall being painted over to make room for whatever comes next.  This particular work makes use of simultaneous contrast, a visual illusion which shows the way different colors affect each other.  In theory (and in practice), each color will change the way we perceive the tone and hue of adjacent colors.  The colors do not factually change, but our perception of them is altered.

In this piece, the same five colors are used to depict both “climate” and “crisis”.  I provided proofs (not shown) on either end of the piece that verify the consistency of the colors.  Science explains why our perception is so easily fooled, and points to the importance of close observation and continued investigation to more fully comprehend the wider world.  My hope is that the use of this visual trick will not only lead to a closer examination of the colors used but also of other areas in our lives where what we perceive (or read, or hear, or spread) and what is factual may not be fully aligned.

Mine, 2016, latex and plastic on wall, 8×11 feet

This work was created for the 2016 “Drawn to the Wall” exhibit at the Jundt Art Museum at Gonzaga University. It is the first piece painted directly on the wall with the intention of impermanence.  As you can see, I was still using plastic to partially obscure the image as well as the text.  There is an effort required to decipher the words that hopefully leads to a moment of further consideration about our relationship/responsibility to nature.

The text states: “Mine for Pleasure, Mine to Pillage, Mine for Profit, Mine to Progress, Mine for Plunder, Mine to Ponder”.  It is my hope that the viewer considers the different meanings of the word “mine” as they consider their own relationship with nature, and the materials we collect from it to support or presence in it.  

Obfuscation, 2017, sharpie, paper and plastic, 13×6 feet

This piece was created for the Spring 2017 Faculty Biennial in the Bryan Oliver Gallery at Whitworth University. A large-scale landscape print has been simplified using Sharpies and then been overlaid with text covered plastic. The text pairs words that are opposites. The image is hung upside down to reflect a landscape in dire distress.  This is another piece that was inspired by the debate over climate change, though the sentiment could be used to examine an ever-growing number of topics.  The idea that there are versions of truth and we can pick and choose which we would like to adhere to is a growing cancer in our midst.

Here Then Gone, 2018, latex on wall, 96×92 inches

This piece was created for the Fall 2018 Faculty Biennial in the Bryan Oliver Gallery at Whitworth University. It was the first piece to more fully integrate the text and the image. I worked with color shifts and value similarities to align the two more closely.  The text reads:

Brown is the water
Burned are the trees
Yellow the water
Ashen the leaves
Blackened the land
Seared for our needs

This piece was inspired by a particularly bad year for wildfires.  The sky had been filled with smoke for weeks and the air often dangerous to breath. The breadth of destruction was unimaginable as I looked at the tally of blackened landscape, livelihoods interrupted and lives lost.  Little did we know that this level of chaos was not an outlier, but an indication of our changing climate.  Successive years have only led to a better understanding of the changing world, our place in it, and responsibility for these climactic shifts.

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