Way of the World
Artist B. Lynch
Welcome to a world in miniature, yet a world as full, resplendent, and flawed as our own. Here, in two and three dimensions, represented by expressive figurines and their trappings, Society churns along: Red, with its professed and expressed nobility and power, bumps up against Grey, with its own comparatively bland, yet functional and equally vital culture.
The theatrical settings these players inhabit – some ephemeral and some pronounced – invite us to witness stories of abundance for some, exclusion for others. Luxury and style signify the Red social stratum, plain clothes and work tools for the Grey. Yet, look closely. While there may be a marked hierarchy in these various scenes, there are occasions to witness and, just as in the “real world,” ask questions about that with which we are confronted: why these separations between the two groups? How did this happen? What will happen next?
Time and place are skewed here. The artist has stated that “the 18th century, with its push-and-pull between the ideas of the Enlightenment while wealth was acquired on the backs of slaves is an apt stand-in for our own time.” Yet she tempers this statement by further allowing that “our obsession with the trappings of wealth and the spectacle of the famous is reminiscent of any age one chooses in history.”
Place is vague and variable as well, only hinted at, really – yet recognizable enough for us to identify contexts of which we are aware; which we see every day. We are presented with no less than the Human Condition, here in this space, and by ready extension outside these gallery walls.
“My miniature and elaborate world of the Reds and the Greys asks questions but leaves the viewer to ponder answers,” the artist states. A pretty big idea fleshed out with such humble means: paper, wire, paint, and handiwork from an artist committed to materials that reflect content. What a world she has imagined and populated and invited us into! We are invited to discover and explore this world of familiar references, investigating from a safe distance of scale, yet knowing certain scenarios perhaps too well, or perhaps not at all.
What do you see here? What questions will you ask – of yourself and your own world – and what answers might you seek? We invite you to become part of this exhibition by participating in our “Big Blog” wall towards the back of the Gallery, where there are ways for you to add your own contributions. Feel free to respond to any ‘world’: the one of Red and Grey, or the full colors of those which populate this Big Blue Marble in space and time.
Wes LaFountain, ‘69
Interim Director & Curator Lamont Gallery Phillips Exeter Academy