HL Arts: Lindsay Rapp Celebrates the Magic and Magnetism of Life in Water and Color

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Philadelphia artist Lindsay Rapp has spent her life painting. As a preschooler, her finger paintings exhibited surprising talent and her teacher entered her the work in a contest. She won and a profession was born, nurtured, cultivated, and developed.

Now a prolific painter, Rapp's work has always been influenced by her upbringing.  Hailing from Florida she was born in Miami and raised near Clearwater Beach.  Her father loved fishing and sailing, often taking Rapp out on the boat with him.  Her passion for creating only grew as she got older, along with her love of water-- even when she was no longer near it.

Ultimately, Rapp relocated to Philadelphia, to study at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.  During college, she became enamored with John Singer Sargent's bold brush strokes, the decorative aspects of Guastve Klint's work, and the famed ballerina paintings of Degas.  Yet, her deepest inspiration came from within. 

While Rapp moved to Pennsylvania to pursue painting, being away from Florida made her realize how important home was to her art.  "I have salt in my blood," Rapp muses.  "I grew this nostalgia for the water and the sea, especially being away from it, and I realized that it completely defined me, and my work."  She began to focus on painting waves, mermaids, shells, and various things connected to the water. 

Rapp feels there's much magic to be found in the water, loving it as an element in and of itself.  "I love the poetry of water, and how it harmonizes with femininity," she adds.  "I love the life that comes from water, including fish and coral, and how fascinating everything about water is." 

Rapp is a painter who loves mixed media and experimentation.  She will often combine acrylic, ink, spray paint and oils, as well as gold leafing, silver, and copper.  Her love of the ocean also transfers to a love of elements born from it.  "Not everyone else does this, but, I enjoy using metallic materials, such as Mother of Pearl and Abalone Shell," Rapp smiles.  "I love using these materials, and the texture of paint itself. They help make my paintings interactive when you see them, since when you walk around them, the colors change." 

Because the ocean itself is so iridescent, the concept of shine versus matte is something that Rapp is always playing with.  She mostly paints on Mylar, which is itself a very shiny material.  She aims to have her paintings shimmer on the surface, much the way water does when hit by the sunlight.   

Rapp describes her work as emotional, intuitive, and narrative.  Even when she creates an oceanic piece with more abstract elements, there will still be an intended feeling behind it.  Abstractions come in when she blends colors and textures of the materials in a particular way.  In her narratives, she is very focused on the feminine and the fantastic.  She often paints female figures who are powerful yet peaceful, using Venus figures and mermaids as the heroines of her stories.  Their watery environs and mythology inspire her to constantly return to them as themes in her paintings.  

Typically, Rapp works on a large scale.  Of late she has also been enjoying experimenting with several sizes, from larger pieces to miniature paintings.               

Presently, Rapp has been showing her work at her very own gallery.  Located in the Gallery Row District of Old City, Philadelphia, her gallery is part retail-space, part studio.  "The front half is for my work."  

Patrons can pass through, buy art if they wish, or get an idea of something they may want to commission from me privately," Rapp explains.  "If I'm in the back working and I hear people come in, I come talk to them-- I love what a personalized experience it is for people to come into the space, talk to me, and see the gallery, as well as get a peek at my behind-the scenes studio works."  She calls her space "the perfect dream set-up," and is thrilled to be making work, while often sharing it in such a bustling location. 

In Old City, Philadelphia, there are First Friday art events.  Every first Friday of each month, the Gallery Row District on 2nd street open for evening festivities.  There are art openings, exhibitions, mini-bites, and beverages served at the galleries, and even street performers and street vendors right outside. 

As Rapp's exhibition space is in the heart of this district, she runs her calendar based off the First Fridays events.  It's when she cycles her shows, getting the chance to display old and new work, as well as works in progress.  

Rapp's current paintings are focused on her Venus characters, because of their oceanic environments, and the feminine power they represent.  She is also hoping to continue using more Mother of Pearl and Abalone shells in these artworks, working towards a series unified by these themes, as well as materials. 

Her next First Friday event is on Friday, December 2nd, from 6:00 PM, to 9:00 PM.  Rapp is very excited to be a participant, and to welcome fans as well as newcomers into her space, to explore, enjoy the waves, and see everything she has been up to.

To contact the artist Lindsay Rapp, as well as see her art works, please go to: www.lindsayrappgallery.com 

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