Halfway Between an Angel and a Flower - Lachlan Hinwood

Photos courtesy of Taylor Hedrick

Halfway Between an Angel and a Flower - Lachlan Hinwood

Second Floor Gallery, University of Iowa - Iowa City, IA

October 18 - 22, 2021

by Brooks Cashbaugh

January 1, 2022

It’s a rare skill to be able to make work that is small, tender and intimate while also using scale to make an immersive experience. Lachlan Hinwood achieves this with his installation of paintings and sculptures in Halfway between an Angel and a Flower.

Hinwood’s show presents 13 paintings alongside small wooden sculptures. Three walls are painted with large rectangles of paint that range between 5 and 15 ft in size. Within these rectangles, Hinwood hangs paintings and small wooden pieces that echo the hand-built frames that many of the paintings have. The large flat rectangles of color on the wall create a visceral impact. They engulf your view as you get closer to them and push back against the architecture of the gallery. One gray rectangle stretches from the baseboard up to a clerestory window, 10 ft off the floor. The painted rectangle is precisely the width of the window (about 5 ft). This relationship pulls the window away from the architecture of the building and into its own installation arrangement. The gray rectangle becomes a shadow of the window or a waterfall or portal that, with the window, reaches 18 ft high. This scale emphatically commands your attention and directs you - almost comically - to look at two small, tender paintings in a way that feels like a wholesome secret whispered on a loud dance floor.

Lachlan Hinwood - Halfway Between an Angel and a Flower, Iowa City, IA - 2021

The paintings Hinwood presents here are primarily landscapes. In all of the paintings, Hinwood plays with paint application - using thin, washy layers of oil paint in some pieces and thick, goopy marks to create a tactile quality in other pieces. Hinwood’s spritely approach to mark-making infuses each painting with mystery and a sense of life. This can be seen in a landscape painting titled Halfway between an Angel and a Flower. The painting features two large ambiguous shapes, one green-yellow, the other pale blue, that stretch from bottom of the painting to top of it, underscoring the verticality of the piece. The marks in these two figures push the painting into an uncanny painterly zone, where the marks are as much a subject as what they represent or allude to. The curious quality of painting is offset by the decisiveness of the 6 x 15 ft yellow rectangle that it sits inside of. This soft, bright yellow with sharp edges further complicates the painting’s reading, gently prodding you to simply experience and enjoy the thing you’re looking at rather than working too hard to categorize it.

Lachlan Hinwood - Halfway Between an Angel and a Flower, Iowa City, IA - 2021

The relationship between the paintings and installation walks a line between intellectual study and pure play. Spending time in the gallery, it’s clear Hinwood thought a lot about the space, its architecture, its limitations and how it can be used to accentuate paintings, but it’s equally clear he had fun. There is a joy in 6 x 15 ft of yellow paint on a wall that is effervescent and contagious. As a whole, Hinwood’s work is thoughtful and subtle, while still holding on to a sense of drama and delight.

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