Lynn Retson

“Making ordinary people, places, and things so extraordinary that the viewer can no longer ignore or overlook them is the heart of my work.”

Lynn Retson

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When most people look at a picture, they see what is in the forefront. Lynn Retson is more concerned with shedding light on what is in the background. She says most of her work focuses on things that are hidden in plain sight.

Whether it is people in the background of photos or the borrow pits along Indiana highways, Lynn pays attention to what is often unnoticed.

“My argument is everything is important and worth looking at,” she says.

While she always has drawn, Lynn started her painting career when her youngest daughter was in kindergarten. She received her MFA from the University of Chicago in 2004. She uses oils for most of her work although she does experiment with adding mixed media, such as clear plastic dry cleaner bags and dryer sheets, to her paintings.

“Mixed media can be exciting but there is more room for error. You have to find your own way with it,” she says.

Today Lynn lives on top of a sand dune with her family and two dogs, but she was born and raised in Cincinnati. She credits the drive time across the Hoosier state while in college for her interest in the rural landscape and what rural means in our culture.

“We all have the same internet and access to information but at the same time, our society has a sort of geographical determinism,” Lynn says. “Indiana is not generally considered an art state.”

This is why she was so interested in participating in the Indiana Artisan program.

“You can live in Indiana and still be creative and contribute in an artistic way.”

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