September 5, 2014 - January 15, 2015
Galleries 8, 9, 10, Historic Landmark Building
David Lynch is internationally renowned as the director of the films Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire. What is less known is that he made his first film while he was a student of painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1966-67). While Lynch’s interests have expanded to encompass the moving image, sound, and internet-based projects, he has always maintained his practice as a fine artist and has created a large body of paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs that both inform and are informed by his works in other mediums.
PAFA’s David Lynch exhibition will feature approximately 75 paintings and drawings since 1965 including Six Men Getting Sick (1967) which was his first foray into film, aimed at a sculpted plaster screen. This will be Lynch’s first major survey in the U.S. and will bring together works held in American and European collections and works from the artist’s studio. Planned in conjunction with Lynch, the exhibition will bring together works of different periods unified by recurring themes often using the house as a site of violence, memories, and passion. It will feature a focused section exploring Lynch’s early work and its origins in Philadelphia (1965-70), which was a critical time in his creative development.
Much like his movies, many of Lynch’s artworks revolve around suggestions of violence, twisted humor and mystery, conveying an air of the uncanny. His work often centers around psychological and emotional states being experienced by figures (recurring characters in the work are “Mr. Jim,” “Pete,” and “Bob”) conveyed through text, their distorted forms and disturbances in the paint fields that surround or envelop them. Lynch’s more delicate drawings vary in handling and textures and are a revelatory aspect of his ongoing studio practice. While a few relate to his film projects, most are independent works of art that reveal a parallel trajectory that relates to Lynch’s work across media.
PAFA’s exhibition will feature collaborations with local film programming, in order to make the project a city-wide celebration of Lynch’s art and life.
Robert Cozzolino, Curator of Modern Art
The William Penn Foundation is the presenting sponsor of this exhibition.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ public programs are funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency).
General operating support provided, in part, by