For his exhibition Set in Stone, Lynch has articulated a series of statements on the realities of observance and transgression, permanence and instability, moderation and indulgence. Through sculpture, sitespecific installation, and recorded performance, he exposes his biography and practice for inspection. The gallery space serves as his workshop, confessional, and altar.
The components of Lynch’s project echo an earnest personal statement he has written to accompany the exhibition, charting his trajectory from childhood to the present day. Through this narrative, Lynch admits to his own aspirations, his missteps as an artist, his skepticism of the culture surrounding the production of works of art, and ultimately his restoration of belief in the creative act.
A room laid in marble contains a framed family photograph of Lynch as a singer in the Paulist Boy Choristers of California, a pastime from his boyhood long since abandoned when his Catholic upbringing was disavowed by his adolescence. On a wraparound bench, three portable CD players contain an original recording of Lynch and his fellow choristers performing Handel’s ssiah.he player, now an outdated, bulky device, was equally technological as it was social for a generation of youths, catalyzing an adolescent independence, permitting a sense of discrete escapism from familial, cultural, and academic constraints.
The marble, however, reveals itself to be no more than vinyl floor tiles, individually adhered to the concrete beneath. Paired with a raw steel barrel, these components conjure artistic gestures Lynch has made in the early stages of his career. Here they are laid bare for judgement in a constructed purgatory, both sham and genuine. The imploded barrel, unlike earlier counterparts, which Lynch had gilded in paint by highlyspecialized metal fabricators, has been sandblasted down to its raw material, exposing the skin to the natural elements. No longer protected from oxidation, the now vulnerable object rests on its side atop a blanket of merino wool, handknitted by the artist’s mother.
A small opening in the hallway wall provides a view into a side room containing the excess materials from Lynch’s installation. A mesh screen, akin to those found in the confessional booths of churches, veils a scene of halfempty plaster bags, wooden molds, and debris the remnants of Lynch’s authorless labor, deviating from the past years surrounding his controlled, outsourced method of production. Abandoned as if in mideffort, the space captures the energy of the creative process, while suggesting a lack of closure, the endless perfecting of an idea.
The door to the room has been sealed with the plaster blocks Lynch molded individually by hand within the confines of the space. A pair of headphones emerging from the center of the wall features a recording of an actual confession Lynch made recently at St. Francis of Assisi church his first in sixteen years. The cable to the headphones is restrictively short, forcing the viewer to move in closely, facing the wall directly. As Lynch confronts his history of sins, the listener plays the dual role of trusted confidant and voyeuristic accessory.
In the exhibition’s main room, a single sculpture of a baptismal font, the pool of holy water used in traditional christening ceremonies, opens towards the viewer. The curved walls with their stepped entrance, and the glassy surface of the water beckon forward in silence. The plaster blocks ascend gently above the shallow basin, their individuality subsumed by their collective form. Lynch’s manual undertaking in producing and assembling the blocks was but a means to an end. The transparency of the font’s construction and the rational simplicity of the blocks’ design elicit a sense of amelioration, mixed with Lynch’s acknowledgement of the inevitable passage of time. As ideas and images wane, they are cleansed, and the cycle begins afresh with Lynch returning to the fundamental tenets of his practice.
Contribution by Domenico de Chirico.
Dylan Lynch - Set in Stone
Howard St, October 23 - November 15