Lynell Ingram is a fine art mixed-media painter and experimenter from Arlington Heights, IL, who earned her BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. She works with figures combined with symbolism and colorful surrealism to visually discuss cultural impacts on women's mental health. Women who came before her who pushed boundaries in many ways and used unexpected approaches to medium use, such as Suzanne Jackson and Emma Amos, continue to inspire her to experiment and push her own boundaries.
Ingram’s work draws from how she has been affected by mental health struggles and where those overlap with the experience of existing in this society as a woman in a more universal way. Her work picks at expectations from personal relationships, community pressures, questions of bodily autonomy and rights, and cultural gender roles that leave few unscathed in influencing who we become and how we experience life.
Ingram spent 15 years working in graphic arts and illustration, which enabled her to bring a touch of illustrative storytelling to her current work. She is listed in the All She Makes women’s artist directory, published in Kilter Magazine and the Daily Herald, and has exhibited work in multiple Chicagoland galleries, including most recently, ‘Windows to the Inside: Expressions of Mental Health,’ with Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, IL, and a solo exhibit of 'The Inspiration Project,' at Prospect Heights Public Library.
My subject matter addresses issues of all women’s (including all women-identifying and uterus-owning people's) mental health, emotional turmoil from external influences, and the brain and body connection. On the surface, all of my work searches for resolution, commiseration, and a hint of humor in relation to my own lived experience. Further down the rabbit hole, I want to define where boundaries can be pushed against and enforced. Both to claim a more equal space and to protect our mental and physical well-being. With these boundaries more clearly defined, we may find the ability to be unique individuals removed from gendered expectations, compounded limitations, and oppressions.
My choices of materials in my mixed-media paintings are deliberate, creating criticism and humor, frustration against cheerful color, and chaos against softness. I want my work to evoke an intimate look into the inside of what we are feeling and struggling with.
I offset representative figures and portraits with graphic collages, vivid elements, and painted symbolism to explore what is hidden behind women who are meant to hold the weight of required composure. I use metaphor to suggest story, and lean into over-the-top color because I also desire a sense of playfulness and curiosity in my work.