Oct 18 2013
The University Art Gallery presents Lain York: Selections from the National Gallery, on view from October 25 to December 15, 2013. Silhouettes derived from 18th and 19th century caricatures populate abstract fields of shiny, colored vinyl, inviting the viewer to imagine unfolding stories. Correction tape slices across wooden panels, evoking muddled paths and archeological digs. These playful, largely abstract images explore formal concerns, but also point to the subjective, constructed nature of historical record, and to the way the past echoes in the present. York will present his work in conversation with Dr. Jeff Thompson on November 15th at 4:30 in Convocation Hall. A reception will follow.
Inspired in part by resonances between the 2012 American presidential election campaigns and his reading about the first four American presidencies, in this exhibition York explores the idea of “a visual archive of collected images,” or “an information stream.” The silhouettes, extracted from their historical contexts, surface in these compositions as if from a collective memory, and are offered to the viewer for reinterpretation. Echoes from the past appear in the present. How we understand the past shifts according to present needs.
Constructed from ephemeral, “charmingly cheesy” materials, like correction tape and stick-on vinyl, these works also play with medium, materials, and mark making. As York says, in a 2012 interview published in Nashville Arts Magazine, “What makes a painting a painting if you take away the paint?” York’s accessible, everyday materials encourage an informal, experimental approach, aligned with contemporary ‘provisional painting.’ Layered or excavated, foregrounding the time spent in their construction, the formal qualities of the paintings contribute meaningfully to the evocation of a subjective approach to history, and work counter to the formal tradition of academic history painting.
Lain York has been called the “Mayor of Art Town” for his essential role in the Nashville art scene. An accomplished painter, he is also the gallery director at the Zeitgeist Gallery. His work is represented in the collections of The Savannah College of Art and Design, the Tennessee State Museum, The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission, Trans-Financial Bank, Nashville, TN, EMI, Los Angeles, CA, as well as many private collections. In January 2014, he will open a solo show in the Contemporary Artist Project space at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville. For more information about the artist, please visit http://lainyork.com.
Sewanee’s University Art Gallery is located on Georgia Avenue on the campus of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. The gallery is free, accessible, and open to the public. Hours are 10 – 5 Tuesday through Friday and 12 – 4 on Saturday and Sunday. Please call (931) 598-1223 for more information.