Breda Lynch’s interdisciplinary practice explores the mediums of drawing, photogra- phy, print media, collage, installation and experimental video.
Lynch has created art from her ongoing engagement with discourses on identity, appropriation and re-appropriation, hidden histories and queer culture. Additionally, she engages with methodologies and approaches that respond to the history of mechanical reproduction, digital reproduction online, the persistent circulation of images in the public domain, all the while querying our relationship with the image, its consumption, distribution, reproduction, value and forcing (re)considerations of authenticity within art. After all the online civilisation is, historically speaking, a relatively new space wherein pictures circulate devoid of origins. Divorced from their maker, original purpose, function, physical properties and even family. We are reminded of the omnipotent availability of pictures through multiple searches and googling.
“Lynch’s gesture of taking the picture is a process of infinitely re-appropriating it. Literally working through fragmented histories of visibility and the proximity that mechanical reproduction has to the external performance of identity”. Padraig Robinson, Satan was a Lesbian, essay 2016.
For this particular series of drawings, there is a focus on the representation of otherness and queer, lesbian identities as presented through the retro genre of lesbian under-the-counter ‘Pulp’ fiction. These pocket paperbacks mushroomed in production in the early 40’s to late 60’s after the introduction and enforcement of the Hays production code in the American film industry in 1930 and parallel to the publishing of the Kinsey Report in the 40’s. Before the 60’s sexual revolution these paperbacks provided a peak into perceived scandalous, erotic encounters of the same sex. Often the featured female characters were depicted as sexual predators into Satanism, witchcraft, BDSM, or even more fantastical grotesques that even came from another planet. It must be mentioned that the publishers did demand that the thrilling, high camp, deviant themes, which were popular to the heterosexual male and isolated women seeking a lesbian community, were not to be promoted as desirable hence many of the characters where eventually confined to lives of frustration and bitterness or even death by madness or suicide.
“With any fragmentation comes the madness of multiplicities. Especially when the conditions of visibility point to the complex presence of the invisible. Lynch’s gesture of collecting pictures underpins a process of re-construction, therefore performing identity on the surface of the image alone. Yet judging books by their covers is still far from a simple process in her drawings”. Padraig Robinson, Satan was a Lesbian, essay 2016.
With these sociopolitical and cultural considerations in mind the artist engages in reclaiming, redrawing and remaking vintage book covers from the various different sources, counter culture, underground or pulp fiction. From the many different themes that the lesbian character appeared – queer pulp, lesbian pulp, deadly or horror pulp, sci- pulp, clandestine romance pulp, she was presented as bold, kitschy, colourful, sexually simmering in appearance. Hence the artist’s motivation is exposed. Challenging the stereotype, the straight or fantasy trope, all with the intention of subverting for her own end the original source, the heteronormative, prudish, conservative era that they were published. Re-appropriating and re-claiming the low-brow writing and not so subtle innuendo this vein of imagery and content gives opportunity, at the very least, to present humorous subversion in the form of the drawings.
Breda Lynch, born in Kilkenny and based in Limerick, graduated with a BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art Print at Crawford College of Art in 1992. On completion, Lynch went on to Chelsea College of Art and Design in London where she completed her MA in Fine Art 1993. Later she completed an MPhil in Fine Art Print and Digital Media graduating from the University of Wolverhampton, 2005.
Lynch has presented solo exhibitions in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Selected one person shows include Fragments of a Lost Civilisation, Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, 2016, The Pit and Other Stories, Siamsa Tire Gallery, Tralee, 2014, Thursday’s Clinic, 126 Gallery, Galway, 2013, Song to the Siren, Galway Arts Centre, 2009, Place of the Crows and Fleurs Fatales, Context Gallery Derry, 2007 and Dark Brides and Silent Twins, Limerick City Gallery of Art, 2006.
International exhibitions include curated group exhibitions in Scotland, England, Italy, Turkey, Thailand, China, USA and Iceland. Lynch is the recipient of several awards including the Cill Rialaig Artist Residency Award, 2012 and 2015, Arts Council Travel and Training Award, 2014, Arts Council Artists Bursary Award, 2005 and the SIM Residency, Reykjavik Iceland, 2014. She is represented in a number of national collections including NUIG Collection – Galway, Luciano Benetton Italy, Trinity College Art Collection, Limerick City Gallery Collection, University of Limerick Collection, Hunt Museum Limerick and other private collections.