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Extraordinary Magazine - The Illuminated Path (2012)

2012 in Extraordinary Magazine by L.Q.H.

Los Angeles-based artist Lori Hyland wasn't compelled to pick up a paint brush until six years ago. Hyland doesn't recall a time when the arts - from fine art to music, dance, and opera - weren't meaningful in her own life. But, as she says, it took her many years of adulthood before she decided she wanted to paint.

The California native studied life drawing and the classical approach to art while attending the Pratt Institute of School of Visual Art in New York, but in time Hyland adopted an abstract style for herself. "I may start out with a very particular vision or meaning, but other forces bring me to an altogether different place," Hyland states. "It is this element that draws me into abstract art rather than representational, which brings a never-satisfying depiction of what someone else or nature has created."

Hyland often spends several months completing a painting, and throughout the process she encounters unexpected meaning and exciting discoveries. She aims to incorporate the entire visible color spectrum in every painting, often by constructing small grids of color and placing them closely together in order to refract color. "By themselves, they have little meaning, but placed in the whole reveal several levels of symbolism leading to a meaningful statement," Hyland says. Each piece of artwork also includes a unique full-spectrum color bar, which not only serves as an ID for the painting, but takes the place of a traditional artist's signature.

Color and light are of particular interest to Hyland, and she is constantly aware of its ever-changing state, whether in front of a canvas or not. "Light is something I've given a lot of thought to. I see light everywhere, even in gray skies and dry desserts. Every city has its own kind of light and I can always tell where I am just by looking at the quality of light." Hyland says. "The light of Los Angeles kind of reflects the people who live here - it is extremely varied. And my favorite occurs in the summer when we have a rare cloudy day. I can look at the peaks in the mountain ranges and see that each one has its own particular color and value," she says.

Hyland's latest series of paintings, which debuted in September at the 2nd annual Art Platform LA, take inspiration from pictures of space taken through the Hubble telescope. "I am working on what I see in those photographs, but in a very abstract way," Hyland said the day of the exhibit's opening. "I'm trying to capture the light and energy, rather than reality." Taking-off points for her previous series have included music, and even ancient hieroglyphs and sche3matics that a scientist presented to her, without explanation but purely for inspiration. The artistic journey often leads her to deeply explore visual meaning. "Is the continuum of time any different - the connection between ancient, even subconscious, memory, and its modern manifestation in my art?" Hyland proposes in her artist's statement.

While Hyland has made her paintings available for sale from the start, she admits it can pain her to let them go. "I think any artist will say that parting with a painting is very difficult, particularly since their gestation is a long period," she explains. "A lot I miss! But if you come to my house, you will see there are paintings that I will never part with." Hyland accepts commissions, and she exhibits her paintings at leading shows in U.S. and Europe, including Art Basel Miami and galleries in France, Los Angeles, and Aspen.

A patron of the arts, Hyland believes that art is an especially meaningful addition to children's lives today. "Every child, from the time they are young, should be exposed to art, just because it is a different form of communication," she says. And it need not be intimidating. "All anyone has to do is look at art, and keep looking, without judging."

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