ARTIST IN THE SPOTLIGHT | Diving Deep With Lynn Parotti

It is an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged.
— Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

Welcome back to Cacique’s Artist In The Spotlight series - a journey into a thriving Bahamian art scene and a look at some of our most exciting artists, pushing boundaries on island and around the world. Today we have the pleasure of welcoming back Lynn Parotti - conscious art trailblazer - to discuss the intoxicating water-world of her native Bahama land with the aim of spawning an intervention.

As scientific evidence of man-made climate change hasn’t been enough to convince the world to take action, then perhaps it’s up to the artists to make an emotional appeal, rather than a statistical one. Lynn Parotti’s breathtaking collection, “Time Under Tension” on display at the D’Aguilar Art Foundation attempts to affront its audience with the dire situation our oceans are faced with. The pieces evoke contradictory feelings of both whimsical delight paired with a strong, resounding perturbation. Lynn’s thick, layered application of oil paint engulfs the viewer, immersing their perspective so that they too can witness the disappearing, distorted reef systems. Her work dives deeper than coral bleaching alone, luring the viewer into the depths of just how interconnected we are - coral reefs support our fisheries and with these at stake, so is our food security. These are issues that affect us all, regardless of age, race, class or locale. So grab a mask…we’re diving in!


Cacique. Tell us, what have you been working on ?

Lynn. I have been completely preoccupied with the environment but particularly with coral colonies. I’ve titled this collection, “Time Under Tension” which refers to a phrase used during fitness training. It speaks to how long a muscle is under strain during a set. I wanted to highlight the constant pressure that coral reefs endure due to the harrowing effects of global warming. This metaphor continues throughout the collection as time becomes the key to the warming seas and the disastrous effects this temperature rise is having on reefs worldwide. Depicting the Bahamian coral reefs in their full, former vigor was an attempt to give people reason to take action and protect the environment that surrounds us.

C. what do you attempt to tackle with your work ?

L. I want my work to be controversial in that it creates a challenge in people’s minds. I don’t think I could make work that wasn’t emotional because I am so emotional. This is expressed in the movement and flow of the paint and the actual patterning and textures that are created. I don’t think that it is overtly controversial but I like that about the work. I remember one of the literature teachers at Saint Augustine’s, Mr Standon, explaining that Shakespeare’s “Malvolio” never bored the audience. His character was vain and full of contempt but he kept the audience engaged. I don’t want to make ugly paintings about an ugly topic. I want to seduce the viewer with color and rhythm and when they are ready, reveal the sad truth the paintings are harboring.

C. What has been an example of a seminal experience that you have had ?

L. Change. Change is very important for anyone, and this is certainly true for an artist. Change gets you up and out of your norm. The nature of my own life, moving from The Bahamas to New York to study art and then to Virginia to get my Masters degree forced change with relocation. One can’t get stuck in a rut - the change in scenery seems to zap any chance of falling into such a place. Traveling between The Bahamas and London is very important and effectively shapes the themes in my work.

“Souvenir”, oil on canvas 140 x 250cm

“Souvenir”, oil on canvas 140 x 250cm

C. Define Canvas ? 

L. For me, a canvas is like a sail that I work on. I favor oil on canvas. It’s my preferred method of working - the way it stretches and behaves. I also work on aluminum which is tougher but definitely more impressive. Aluminum as a medium is incredibly sophisticated in it’s look, but it is very tasking because you have to etch to get the paint to stay. Overall, I prefer working on canvas because the movement of the paint is more fluid - it really does that job! The integrity of what I am trying to relay is very important to me and my work. If it’s wrong, the art doesn’t get shown. Integrity is paramount to every artist’s work. Once you lose that, you have compromised the entire exercise.

C. What is the most indispensable item in your studio

L.  The paint squeezer of course! This thing is a life saver! It’s this brilliant contraption that gets every last drop of paint out!

Parotti’s paintings are restless landscapes. The push and pull of oil paint, its malleable and viscous potential and heightened colour, conveys an energy which is both sensuous and unsettling, a duality which references the uncertain condition of our contemporary existence in this world, but also the potential for renewal.
— Allison Thompson Ph.D., Art Historian and Curator

C. where is your favorite place to see art and why ?

L. I like to travel and see the local art in the community because it reflects the surroundings. I don’t particularly like to go to massive art fairs because I find they can be repetitive at times. They tend to cover the “key artists”, those that are established in the area rather than others. I’d prefer to seek out the local art community and see what else is happening. That said, what I like about fairs like VOLTA is that they showcase emerging artists, many of whom haven’t really surfaced.

C.which work of art do you wish you owned ?

L.  Katy Moran is absolutely brilliant and a wonderful person! I know her from London. She produces wonderfully abstract work. We nearly bought one while they were very affordable but now the prices have skyrocketed. Another artist whose work I love is Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. The power of her portraits is truly riveting, beautiful stuff. The last gallery I went to was the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York City which is where I saw Lynette’s work. Another artist whose work I love was also in the exhibition, “Relational Undercurrents: Contemporary Art of the Caribbean Archipelago” curated by Tatiana Flores - Jeannette Ehlers. Her work isn’t on display at the Tate but it ought to be. Her work about Haitian migration is simply outstanding and poignant.

“Aubade”, oil on linen 72 x 90cm

“Aubade”, oil on linen 72 x 90cm

I don’t want to make ugly paintings about an ugly topic. I want to seduce the viewer with color and rhythm and when they are ready, reveal the sad truth the paintings are harboring.
— Lynn Parotti



At Cacique, we love to showcase our colourful Bahamian art scene and the characters that create its distinct flair. For more information on Lynn Parotti and our other Artists In The Spotlight, or to find out about curating a unique look and sound for your event, feel free to contact us

Looking forward to the next chat! SMS:)