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Thursday, December 14, 2017
 
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The Rural We: Ellen Lynch

After working as a graphic artist in New York City, Ellen Lynch made a 180-degree turn and moved to Southeast Idaho to establish a cattle ranch in the Grand Teton Mountains. Since 2011, Lynch has lived in the Hudson Valley, eventually settling in Stuyvesant and opening a pop-up gallery of her photography in Chatham last month. As an artist usually working in solitude, Lynch loves the communal aspect of a brick and mortar space, where the community is invited to view art, hear live music, and participate in discussions with authors. Lynch’s next exhibit, “Touched by Light,” will open with a reception on Saturday, Nov. 18 from 4-7 p.m.

I was born and raised in a rural farming community in Western New York, where I spent most of my time outside. My first job, at age 7, was milking the neighborhood cows. I’m from a family of craftspeople — my father was a woodworker and my mother was always making stuff. We didn’t watch TV. I think because of that, I went to art school at SUNY Purchase. I was going to be a sculptor but quickly realized I didn’t want to teach or wait tables, so I switched to the graphic design department. I moved to New York City and pursued a career for 10 years or so. At the very beginning of the internet, I realized I didn’t have to live in the city anymore.

I’d always wanted to live in the Grand Teton Mountains, so I moved to Southeast Idaho and I had the great cowgirl adventure. I was always fascinated by the mountains. I thought I would go for a couple of years, get it out of my system, and them go back to New York. But I established a cattle ranch and lived in the national forest, where I had to ski part of the way to my house.

My folks were getting older and I decided my adventure might be over. I’d been taking photos of nature and animals the whole time I was out there. Then a couple of years ago, I was aiming my phone at a cloud to take a photo and I thought “Oh, this makes me happy.” So I’ve been focusing more and more on photography. I like to use natural light, especially late-afternoon sun which I find to be a gift. The next exhibit will feature dramatically lit horses and landscapes. I’ve always had a fascination with horses. When I was younger, I’d save my money and rent one to ride for $3 an hour, but I wasn’t able to have one until I lived in Idaho.

My work had been in some group shows, but I’d never had my own space. I love Chatham and it’s hard to see empty spaces on the main street, so I thought ‘why not?’ I’m subletting the gallery space until the end of the year, but people are trying to convince me to keep going. Right now I’ve got events planned every Saturday through December.

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Posted by Amy Krzanik on 11/14/17 at 10:19 AM • Permalink