The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross, will present 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 at: https://newgildedage.holycross.edu.
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.
Lynch’s 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 Lynch’s 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 Lynch’s 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 Lynch’s exploration of serious themes through playful theatricality will bring a wonderful energy to the campus this fall.”
The Cantor Art Gallery will be 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. Hours are Tuesday through Friday noon – 5 p.m., with limited Saturday availability. To book an entry time, email email@example.com or call 508-793-3356. Masks and social distancing practices are required. Public programming events will be made available online, publicized on the Gallery’s website and through social media.
Virtual Artist’s Talk by B. Lynch
Monday, October 19, 4 p.m. via Zoom
Pre-registration at https://www.holycross.edu/cantor/lynch
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