Perhaps the best compliment that can be offered to Lance Sinnema’s text art is that it is neither here nor there. The remark, however, has to be made in the utmost inversive sense of the otherwise dismissive expression. In this 2014 series, found prints and paintings, like those seen at thrift stores, serve as the foundation both literally and conceptually.
As if to be stored away in the eternal purgatory or be shipped off to oblivious irrelevance, each work is wrapped in a blend of plastic tarp and packing tape. The transparent cutout letters are sandwiched and held in place by clear tape layers. The crafting process is a schlocky alchemy, producing unsightly textured surfaces with wrinkles, creases, and air bubbles. The tacky shroud graces the entirety of the painting, even the frame, folding over the edges. In doing so, the hovering texts and the picture underneath are simultaneously obscured. Densely populated words are difficult to make out, while the scenery is broken up into patches of colors and random bits of shapes.
The result is more painterly than sculptural. The shambolic, inconsequential texts are slapped onto an equally sloppy quasi-abstract landscape in what amounts to be, to put it nicely, an unimpressive text art. But of course, the sheer lack of the visual wow factor is by design. Sinnema’s brilliance is not found in his attempt to turn a dusty secondhand kitsch into a fine work of art. By divergently staging once-forgotten, trivial decorative paintings and prints, the artist proposes a different way of looking, the one that involves asking many questions. We are reminded that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. Image does not matter, what we bring to the party does.www.lancesinnema.com.
All images courtesy of artist.
For the record, the article has been updated to correct the spelling of Spokane city. Sorry Spokanians and Spokanese!