Selections from the National Gallery/zeitgeist gallery, Nashville
Selections from the National Gallery/ zeitgeist
December 2020 through January 2021
This work was initially made and presented as an attempt to sort through the media frenzy on the eve of the 2012 US presidential election. As the rhetoric about the candidates and issues was ramping up to what seemed at the time an unprecedented fury, I looked back through engraved images and drawings in popular circulation during two particular administrations of the past, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln, for comparison.
It seemed that the discussions and engagements of those periods were every bit as contentious. What had changed is the level of bombardment. Directed messaging and the stretching of facts through broadcast and social media had permeated most of our waking hours escalating attention and division.
Another realization, further reinforced by the election of the first African American president of the United States in 2012 and current events, has been the fact that even after this momentous occasion very little progress has been made to ensure equal rights to citizens of color, of more diverse cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender identity, and economic status.
Currently, the awareness of inequality is obviously not new to those experiencing discrimination daily but has come to a greater, sleeping white majority. The situation we all find ourselves in as Americans in this year of 2020 and the decisions we are making in this pivotal period will prove a watershed moment in so many regards.
As the events of past several years have further divided our country as to what our shared values truly are, the idea of an official “national archive” serving as the custodian of collective values and beliefs is proving anything but objective. Most recently the bending of these narratives, to my mind, makes this more evident and disturbing.
The pieces in this show consist of painted and routed wood panels covered with a skin of colorful adhesive vinyl. The worked surfaces convey a sense of history that has been covered up or perhaps set in motion by the thin veneer of this commercial material often associated with automotive and sign graphics. Images taken from popular engravings of the eighteenth and nineteenth illustrate events of those times that mirror current political events and stumbling blocks that continue to hamper our development as a united nation.
New pieces have been added to the original body of work that was shown at the Frist Museum in 2013 as an effort to acknowledge the truths that so many of us as Americans have failed to reckon with. The historical situations portrayed and memorialized by the characters in the earlier work took place without the participation of or thought of consequence to individuals on this land before us, brought to our country against their will, held in slavery, denied the protection of common law and our constitution, excluded socially, and were given no voting or civil rights. The empty panels are devices meant to remind us all of those who have acted and spoken but were and continue to be shut out.
These realizations also come on the centenary of the 19th Amendment underscoring the recognition that so much more must be done for the struggling, the unheard, and the underserved.
My hope is that these dark monuments and pauses in the reading of the other works provide for myself and others an opportunity for reflection, for learning, and a new dedication to living up to our collective identity as expressed and to better ensure that the ideals our country was founded on are finally shared by all.
Red Clay Survey/Huntsville Museum of Art
THE RED CLAY SURVEY: 2020 EXHIBITION OF CONTEMPORARY SOUTHERN ART, July 12 - October 4, 2020, Huntsville Museum of Art, Huntsville, Alabama
jurors: Peter Baldaia and David Reyes
Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey Utter
ArtFields | Lake City, SC | April 20-28, 2018
Body’s Shadow, Watkins College of Art and Design
August 30 - September 29th, 2017
Ron Buffington Paul Collins Patrick DeGuira Brady Haston James Perrin Karen Seapker Kelly Williams Lain York
Encore/Univeristy of Tennessee Knoxville, Ewing gallery
ENCORE, an exhibition of the work of 11 graduates from the University of Tennessee School of Art living in Nashville, TN opens Friday, July 15, 2017
Exhibiting artists are: Jodi Hays, Rob Matthews, Sterling Goller-Brown, Brandon Donahue, Briena Harmening, Jonathan Lisenby, Mary Addison Hackett, David King, Lakesha Moore, Lain York, and Terry Thacker.
Ingrid Laubrock/Tom Rainey
Therely Bare/curated by John Tallman
July 18 – October 29, 2015 at Zeitgeist/Murray State University
Kate Beck (usa)
Kwangyup Cheon (korea)
Christoph Dahlhausen (de)
Kevin Finklea (usa)
Billy Gruner (aus)
Simon Ingram (nz)
Jeffrey Cortland Jones (usa)
Lorri Ott (usa)
Mel Prest (usa)
Clary Stolte (nd)
Lars Strandh (nor)
John Tallman (usa)
Richard Van Der Aa (aus/fr)
Iemke Van Dijk (nd)
Ken Weathersby (usa)
Guido Winkler (nd)
Douglas Witmer (usa)
Lain York (usa)
20 Collaborations in Book Art
Saturday, February 15, 2014 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
at Art Gallery - Main Library First Floor
Come for the opening of 20 Collaborations in Book Art, an exhibit of 20 one-of-a-kind books by artists with a connection to Nashville.
PROJECT PARTICIPANTS: Paul Bock ∙ Tim Brown ∙ Greg Chapman ∙ Claire Hampton
Alicia Henry ∙ Susan Hulme ∙ Jaron Jackson ∙ Melba Williams Kirk ∙ Rachel Kirk
Damon MacNaught ∙ Amanda McCadams ∙ Carrie McGee ∙ Sue Mulcahy ∙ Britt E. Stadig ∙ Robert Stadig ∙ Terry Thacker ∙ Scott Thom ∙ Lain York ∙ Mel Ziegler
ALSO IN THE EXHIBIT: Leslie Haines and Alan LeQuire
Contact: Nashville Public Library (615) 862-5800
Topical Areas: Featured, MAIN (Downtown)
Tags: Featured, Locations, location/Main (Downtown)
- See more at: http://events.library.nashville.org/cal/event/showEventMore.rdo#sthash.uozz88vg.dpuf
Lain York: Selection from the National Gallery January 31 - May 11, 2014
Nashville Artist Lain York Uses Abstract Vignettes to Link Historical Events to the Present in Frist Center Exhibition
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (November, 2013)—Selections from the National Gallery, an exhibition of history-inspired works by Nashville artist Lain York, will be on view in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery from January 31, 2013 through May 11, 2014. Employing a colorful visual shorthand, Mr. York invites viewers to think about the creative connections that shape our understanding of the continuing impact of American history.
The exhibition features a recent series of works relating to Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and a 2012 series of vignettes inspired by David McCullough’s Pulitzer Prize winning 2002 biography of founding father and second president of the United States John Adams. The works do not illustrate the book so much as provide a cryptic visual shorthand that defines the artist’s sense of the captions’ meanings and emotional resonance. Frist Center Chief Curator Mark Scala says, “Each body of works relates to the often combative circumstances that have marked partisan governance in the past, making more than a passing allusion to our current political dissonances.”
An avid reader of history, Mr. York is particularly interested in the notion of past as prologue. While reading the Adams biography during the 2012 presidential campaign, he was struck by the connection between the past and present. Mr. York comments:
“The underlying narrative of history, or the untold story that actually sets future events in motion, has been a consistent theme in my work. I have no wish to personally comment one way or the other, so I use the platform of an official archive, (which in most cases is anything but objective), to reinforce the thought of something larger than ourselves influencing the chains of events.”
The exhibition title Selections from the National Gallery is itself a reference to an ostensibly official museum record. To create his works, Mr. York relies on source material such as eighteenth and nineteenth-century documents, newspaper articles and engravings. His silhouetted figures wear period garb and pose in stiff pantomime. Titles such as Trashed in the Press, Battle on the Floor of Congress, and An XYZ Affair refer to political conflicts in which the artist perceives contemporary relevance. Yet his choice of stick-on vinyl—a cheap, elastic graphic material—as the primary medium, slyly counters the pomposity often contained in traditional history painting. “The works have a nonchalant sensibility,” says Mr. Scala. “The vinyl is often wrinkled or hangs loose, lending a quality of ephemerality, a lightening of the sense of dignity and scale that often marks history paintings as important.”
Known for creating works that hover between abstraction and representation, Mr. York is as concerned with figure-ground relationships, conversations in color and economy of form as he is with political ideas. He says:
“I really like the idea of giving the viewer a narrative source for abstraction. The hope is to draw the viewer in with imagery that might be recognizable with the added pay-off of specific references to American or European history sparking a conversation. I hope it helps to break down the conception that abstraction requires a working knowledge of the medium.”
The works of Selections from the National Gallery do not intend to teach lessons of the past, but rather remind us of the deep-rooted contentious nature of our democracy. “Beneath known histories are ghostly layers of triggering events and influential people that will never fully materialize even through a historian’s pen, and may only be brought into hazy view by an artist’s imagination,” says Mr. Scala.
About Lain York
Recognized as a vital member of and tireless advocate for the Nashville visual arts community, Lain York has been active as an artist since the 90s. He was a member of the Fugitive cooperative, which brought groundbreaking shows to Nashville, and introduced cutting edge work already being done here to the art-loving public. As current director of the Zeitgeist Gallery, he continues to influence the Nashville art scene.
Mr. York has exhibited in Tennessee at Cheekwood Museum of Art; Leu Gallery, Belmont University; the University of the South, Sewanee; and Zeitgeist Gallery; and elsewhere at Bolm Projects, Austin, Texas; Flood Projects, Asheville, NC; Tulca Arts Festival, Galway, Ireland; the University of Alabama Huntsville; and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. His artwork is in the collections of FirstBank Tennessee/Ayers Collection of Community; EMI Music, Los Angeles; St. Andrew's- Sewanee School, Sewanee; The Savannah College of Art and Design; Tennessee State Arts Commission; Tennessee State Museum; The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission; and Trans-Financial Bank, Nashville.
Mr. York earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1990. He is represented by Zeitgeist Gallery.
Related Public Programs
Friday, February 21* ARTini: Lain York: Selections from
7:00 p.m. the National Gallery Presented by Lain York
Meet at exhibition entrance
Gallery admission required, members free
Are you curious about art? Do you want to learn more about the content and concepts behind an artist’s work? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then the ARTini program is for you! ARTinis are designed for everyone—from the novice to the connoisseur—and include informal and insightful conversations that offer a deeper understanding of one or two works of art in an exhibition.
Join Mark Scala, the Frist Center’s chief curator, in a conversation about select works by Nashville-based artist Lain York that were inspired by nineteenth-century American history as presented through texts, political cartoons, newspaper articles, and engravings. Lain York: Selections from the National Gallery is on view in the Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery through May 11, 2014.
*This event will be offered again on Tuesday, February 25 at 12:00 p.m.
Thursday, March 27 Artist’s Tour: Lain York: Selections from
6:30 p.m. the National Gallery Presented by Lain York
Meet at exhibition entrance
Gallery admission required, members free
Nashville artist Lain York’s series Selections from the National Gallery was inspired by David McCullough’s biography of President John Adams. By rendering significant scenes in loosely hung, cut-vinyl silhouettes, York’s work brings humor and wit to an art historical genre steeped in pomp and circumstance—history painting. Join the artist for a discussion of his sources of inspiration and working methods in this gallery talk.
“Lain York: Selections from the National Gallery” at the University Art Gallery Oct. 25-Dec. 15 18 October 13
The University Art Gallery presents Lain York: Selections from the National Gallery, on view from Oct. 25 to Dec. 15. 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 Assistant Professor Jeff Thompson at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 15, 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.
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 asked 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.” (Right: "An Audacious Young Citizen," vinyl, acrylic paint, correction tape, graphite on panel, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.)
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.
Sewanee’s University Art Gallery is free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
zeitgeist gallery/nashville, tn
nashville convention center
2 commissions slated for the new Nashville Convention Center 2013
when the whip comes down
new work showing with Ed Saunders, Jr. at the Bank in dowtown nashville, TN. october 6-december 31/reception saturday, october 6/6-9PM
Exhibit Your Symptom/zeitgeist gallery
Exhibit Your Symptom
group exhibition at Zeitgeist gallery, Thursday January 5, 2012
1819 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37212
Bedrock/ Belmont University, Nashville, TN
Bedrock opens December 1, 2011 and runs through January 27, 2012
reception: Wednesday January 11, 5:00-7:00pm
gallery talk at 5:30pm
Belmont University/Leu Gallery
1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212