It was serendipity that brought artist Jack Lillis and The Art Connection together, despite living on the other side of the US in Northern California. A friend residing in the South End “sent me an article about an art auction or sale sponsored by The Art Connection at the Cyclorama building on Tremont Street in Boston. I held on to the article for a few years before I contacted The Art Connection,” remarks Lillis. “Like many artists, I had a lot of artwork that I had made over many years, and I thought that it would be better to have some of it placed where many people could see it, rather than stored in my studio.”
It turns out that Jack’s decision to make that call continues to bear fruit. Thus far, there have been eight social service agencies across Massachusetts that have filled their spaces with his work including the Department of Youth Services, Devine Recovery Center, Just-A-Start Corporation, and Lowell Transitional Living Center. The most recent recipient agency is The South End Community Health Center on Washington Street following their selection of the three artworks pictured below.
Despite his ever evolving art practice, the mediums of choice for Lillis are acrylic, watercolor, or ink on paper. While ink and paint can be very fluid, the vision he has for his completed pieces leans more towards the geometric side. He says when making a new work, “[it] starts out in a grid form. I desire to have a basic structure to start with, and then I can do whatever I want with that beginning. I also like things balanced, like grids.”
But these are no ordinary grids! In some cases, his artwork provides peeks of checkerboard placed among abstract solid forms with concentrated values of rich colors. In others, there are more hints of Lillis’ primary interests: art and architecture. “The earliest work of mine which has placed is a series of what I call pyramid paintings. They are watercolor on paper and the image is a triangle shape, within another triangle shape, with the sides being the same angle as the sides of the Great Pyramid at Cheops. I was reading about those pyramids when I started that series.”
Overall, Lillis’ compositions are much like puzzles. Each fragment is essential to taking the piece in as a whole. In a similar way it takes many “fragments” to promote access to art for the greater good. While Lillis’ role is that of the artist, he acknowledges the other open hearts involved in the art placement process by saying, “It has been wonderful to learn of the many, and varied, non-profit institutions that my work has found its way to, with lots of help from The Art Connection staff.”