Feeling Oceanic: Artist and Gallery Owner Lindsay Rapp brings an Otherworldly Oasis to Philadelphia’s Art Scene

By Cara S. Vincent


The chimerical works of Lindsay Rapp will transport you into a wild, captivating, Delphic purlieu; a world of cynosures, otherworldly women and a vast, undulating sea. It is easy to get lost in the lush and lavish landscapes that Rapp creates; one long gaze at her series called, “Seascapes” and you may find yourself whisked away to some serene expanse of sand, the waves purling indefinitely. There is little doubt that Rapp, in her 20’s and already a well-established, Philadelphia-based painter and gallery owner, possesses an afflatus for true, transcendental artistry.  

Lindsay Rapp grew up in Clearwater, Florida, on the Gulf Coast, and her admiration for her coastal, seaside upbringing is more than evident in her mesmerizing works of art. Rapp’s career as an artist is far from incidental, though. As a young child, pre-school aged, Rapp’s talent was already apparent to her instructors who had submitted a puerile work of Rapp’s into a contest, a work which subsequently won and at the ripe age of toddler, brought some small-time fame to young Lindsay—she appeared on TV and in a calendar for that seminal work. Rapp informs me that her core aesthetic interest has always been “enchanting women or mermaids: for instance, in different situations and that her style, as a whole, is what she would call ‘magical realism mixed with impressionism and some elements of the abstract.’” Her palette involves a literal sea of blue tones and she often mixes precious materials such as real mother of pearl and abalone shells, dichroic, metallic pigments, silver leaf and 24 karat gold to her works in effective attempts to mimic what she calls the “emotional, sensual nature of the ocean.”

The idea of a Muse, an idyllic goddess who personifies the arts—dance, literature, music—and is meant to inspire and embody, as it were, the poetry, songs and myths of ancient cultures, dates all the way back to Ancient Greek mythology. In one telling of the myth of Muses, it is said that Pegasus, the winged horse of lore, touched his hooves to the ground on Mount Helicon, upon which four sacred springs erupted, and from these the Muses, or nymphs, are said to be born. In another version of the myth, the Muses are the nine daughters of Zeus and of Mnemosyne (memory personified) and each represents a different faction of the arts and sciences. One other rendition casts the Muses as even more primordial, born from some of the earliest deities, including Gaia, or Mother Earth. Muses were beautiful, powerful and ethereal. They were the source of influence and creativity of the time, essentially providing the awakening and exaltation to create within the arts. The concept of a Muse, that which provokes and arouses, and triggers, if you will, the fires of creativity and ingenuity in a person, is a concept that has eclipsed its ancient roots and is still very much present in contemporary discourse. Although a Muse of the modern world can be anything or anyone, Lindsay Rapp’s collection titled, “Muses” harkens to the classic, fabled Muse. I think there is power in this, though. The muses were strong, indelible figures; their beauty unmistakable and their power and influence  undeniable.  

Lindsay Rapp’s recently launched atelier is located in Philadelphia’s art district and functions both as a storefront where Rapp can hang her artwork for the public to see and also as her private studio. It is rare for an artist, especially one so young, to operate her artistic lifestyle this way, essentially running a business and creating a project simultaneously, but after studying art at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts as well as University of Pennsylvania, Rapp had her eye on the prize:

“After college I was looking for mainly just a studio, but it occurred to me that it can be a pretty risky and often challenging pursuit to live and work solely as an artist. You have to work really hard not just at making your art, but at getting people to see it, building a client base, submitting to art shows, finding galleries to hang your work and physically getting the work there in the first place. I wanted to be able to spend as much time as possible just doing the first part: making art.  I knew nothing about running a business, I took a leap of faith in opening my own gallery along with an art studio. I knew it was a risk, but I have always been the kind of person that likes to think optimistically and to chase after my dreams.”

A lot of what Rapp does is commissioned, but a lot of it is also of her own endeavor. In any case, they are all truly gorgeous and her gallery is often open to the public. There is a show every first Friday of the month at the Lindsay Rapp Gallery. To see more of her mesmerizing works of art or if you would like a piece commissioned, you can visit her website: www.lindsayrappgallery.com



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