September 5, 2014 - January 15, 2015
Galleries 8, 9, 10, Historic Landmark Building
David Lynch is internationally renowned as the director of the films Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, The Elephant Man, Wild at Heart, and Inland Empire. What is less known is that he began to pursue making films while he was a student of painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. While over his career Lynch’s interests have expanded to encompass the moving image, sound, and the internet, 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.
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 drawings and photographs beckon to Surrealist influences like Max Ernst and Hans Bellmer, and share a bizarre approach to the human figure that powerfully distorts and fragments its form. This is especially apparent in his Distorted Nudes series of photographs where aggressive depictions of distressed figures are often confined in elaborate environments, forcing the viewer to witness, and in a way intervene in, the intensely personal moment of an individual. A self-professed admirer of the British painter Francis Bacon, Lynch’s large-scale paintings use chunky gold frames and a shield of glass to detach the viewer from a flattened space in which unsettlingly abstracted scenarios take place, while his dark watercolors reveal blurred visions of the absurd as vague and disconcerting realities. Echoing the interests of some of history’s most prominent artists, Lynch manages to create a unique style in works that tell imaginative stories and compel viewers to delve into the inner workings of the subconscious.
PAFA’s overview of David Lynch’s work will center upon his work as a painter, draftsman, photographer, and sculptor. Through this lens the exhibition will explore how Lynch’s world emanates from his practice as a painter and how this practice informs and illuminates his work in other media. This will be Lynch’s first major survey in the US and will bring together works held in American and European collections and works from the artist’s studio.
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