Discipline: Visual Art – drawing

Cynthia Lin

Discipline: Visual Art – drawing
Region: Brooklyn, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 1994, 2014

Cynthia Lin makes large, six to 12-foot, graphite and ink drawings of skin, orifices, and scars that examine the fragile yet regenerative nature of the human condition. Based on direct computer scans and internet sources, these meticulously rendered images appear highly factual but also evoke instinctive subjective reactions. They lead to reconsiderations of privacy, identity, gender, race, beauty, and mortality. Monumental scale and devoted craftsmanship aspire to viscerally deepen our shared experience of the body, engaging conflicting experiences of discomfort and fascination.

Colossal orifices, pressed against glass, aim to convey a tension between intimacy and vastness that evokes conflicting aspects of modern life. They are vulnerable to scrutiny yet mysterious, unique yet anonymous, truthfully represented yet easily misread. Disruptions, such as breath condensation and twitching, and printing “failures,” such as banding and pixellation, create informational gaps that open the way to experiencing complexity, enigma, and poetry.

References are made to landscape, a similar fragile topography shaped by adaptions to intense interior and exterior stresses. Lin’s images share a resemblance to other violations of the earth’s skin: oil spills, storms at sea, and melting glaciers. In response to the terrifying fragility of life, she seeks sublime beauty to inspire courage and concern.



Cynthia Lin worked in the Firth studio.

Originally a working barn perched atop the namesake hill of Hillcrest Farm, this building was converted to serve the arts in 1956. A grand set of windows was installed to make the large interior suitable for visual artists, bringing in abundant natural light from the north. The addition of a screened porch and accessible entrance ramp…

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