Who am I and how did I get here? I have asked myself that question many times in the last two years. My name is Lynne Mcilvride. I have been an artist ever since I remember. I find speaking awkward: my first language is colour. (It’s a good line that has served me well.) A little background to explain tornados and cats: I have a new studio. No, let me back up. I had an old studio in a farmhouse and an old marriage in that same house. I was happy there until I was dumped like a dog out of a moving vehicle. I grieved. I was kept sane by my friends, my faith and my art. For those of you who have followed my work, you will not be surprised by what happened next: I kept painting using new metaphors. My art has always been personal, autobiographical, symbolic, expressive. A tornado soon appeared in a dream and it started a huge series that has not completely spun out. Here is my artist statement I have reused a few times:
Weather is such a powerful metaphor for human emotion. And that writhing weather monster, the tornado, is a particularly apt way of describing the trauma, the fury, the intensity of loss. It’s hard not to take a tornado personally: it gets to the point by narrowing down and strikes a specific spot. It comes out of the blue. We don’t know what hit us. We are caught in a whirlwind of emotion. Everything is up in the air. There is no emergency plan for these twists of fate.
To put a positive spin on it, a tornado (that snaking shape-shifter) is just energy. It makes a long-winded metaphor that lasts and lasts because it wrecks and then absorbs whatever it touches down on. What starts out as an emblem of emotional devastation contorts into an expression of fury and then is reborn as a metaphor for unstoppable creativity, play, and passion. Like the flowering cross, can it become a cornucopia? Blooming tornados! Elijah goes to heaven, Dorothy goes to Oz, one thing for certain is we are pulled out of our orbit and dropped in a different place, undone.