The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross, is presenting the work of Boston-based artist B. Lynch in the exhibition New Gilded Age from Tues., Oct. 13 through Fri., Feb. 5. A dedicated exhibition website can be viewed here
Lynch, a former studio art faculty member and director of the Trustman Gallery at Simmons University, studied Japanese and East Asian culture and Japanese Theatre and Performance at the University of Kansas and in Japan as an undergraduate and graduate student, then later painting at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and holds an MFA from Lesley University School of Art and Design.
Lynchs interest in theatrical presentation is a catalyst for her multidimensional and immersive world of characters, complete with props, scenes and story lines centered around the Reds, whose wealth and privilege allows them to live a life of ease, while the Greys, the less fortunate of society, are doomed to lives of toil. Lynch takes photos on her travels to incorporate into her videos. A fan of puppets and alternative theatrical ventures, she modeled her two new stages created especially for Holy Cross after an inspiring visit to Toy Theatres in Germany in 2018.
New Gilded Age presents a fantastical sci-fi world comprised of paintings, videos, dioramas and three-dimensional handmade puppets in various sizes, who inhabit sets that Lynch builds by hand. The various media build on and reference each other, with archetypal characters appearing in various guises and situations throughout. In their interactions, two groups interact with and impact each other. As the visitor explores the worlds of the Reds and Greys, she will contend with ideas of equity and status, while drawing parallels to, in Lynchs words, the corrosive effect of income disparity on our society and democracy.
In its playful yet deeply satirical send-up of modern society, Lynch references a number of literary and scholarly inspirations for the New Gilded Age, including Voltaire, Thomas More, Mark Twain, Herman Melville and the more recent novel by Thomas Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities.
Meredith Fluke, director of the Cantor Art Gallery, says We are excited to re-open the Cantor with New Gilded Age. I am confident that the thematic valence of Lynchs work will provide fodder for many conversations: about the forms and importance of satire and its critique of society; about pressing questions of income and class disparity and their toll on democracy; on the fascinating nexus of play, imagination, storytelling, performance and craft that B. Lynch creates through her work. The tension in Lynchs exploration of serious themes through playful theatricality will bring a wonderful energy to the campus this fall.
The Cantor Art Gallery has been transformed into a series of stages and sets for the installation of New Gilded Age, with videos and sound increasing the immersive quality of the work. The Gallery will also host a series of videos and programming on its website, in order to provide online access to the work.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-gallery visits from off-campus visitors will take place by appointment only.