Feature: Sunday Painter | David Lynch
The renowned film director is this week’s #SundayPainter. Although primarily known for his ground-breaking, highly influential film work, Lynch began as a visual artist. The dark nature of his films present in all his disciplines, none more so than his paintings. Often combining more than just paint, Lynch deploys sculpture, drawing and even type whilst edging toward a more naive style in recent works.
David Lynch (American, b.1946) is best known as a prolific modern filmmaker. However, his work stretches out into the world of television, music, painting, and many other forms of art. His style is often characterized as surrealist, and he has even been branded with his own style, called Lynchian Style. Lynch was born in Missoula, MT, and moved around from place to place until he landed in Philadelphia, PA, where he enrolled in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.
After a stint in Philadelphia, he moved to Los Angeles, CA, where he launched his film career. While working at the AFI Conservatory, Lynch created his first motion picture, Eraserhead (1977), a black-and-white surrealist horror film. The film was not acclaimed by critics, but it has held a strong cult following since its release. It wasn”t until the film The Elephant Man (1980) that Lynch received his first real taste of critical and commercial success. The film received eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Director. More importantly, Lynch became a household name, whose art has reached millions of viewers. Along with several feature films, Lynch has created many short films, several television series, and even some music videos.
Although most commonly known for his films, Lynch initially studied to be a painter. Lynch’s painting is characterized by its absence of color. He believes that black is a liberating factor and uses it to make his works become more dreamlike. In 2007, a major art retrospective on Lynch, The Air is on Fire, was displayed at the Fondation Cartier in Paris. This exhibition contained paintings, photographs, drawings, and other work, including site-specific installations.
it’s so weird that men can make endless misogynistic comments and not have to reassure people that they don’t hate women but when women, especially those in the spotlight, talk about things concerning women they feel an overwhelming need to constantly reassure the world that they don’t hate men, that they love men.
and by weird i mean a cultural norm to demean women and overvalue men.
The thing about this is that sculptures like these in art history were for the male gaze. Photoshop a phone to it and suddenly she’s seen as vain and conceited. That’s why I’m 100% for selfie culture because apparently men can gawk at women but when we realize how beautiful we are we’re suddenly full of ourselves…
“You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for you own pleasure.”
- john berger, ways of seeing
selfie culture is reclaiming our image and regaining control over how we are depicted that is why selfies are so derided and written off as vanity, thats why those who take selfies are routinely mocked and belittled, thats why time magazine used the image of a teenage girl taking a selfie as the marker of everything that is (supposedly) wrong with the millennial generation
the world would prefer it that we remained the muse, they don’t like that we’re becoming the artist
let’s hear from Christina Rossetti. she was the younger sister of dante gabriel rossetti, who was ringleader of the “pre-raphaelite brotherhood”, an art movement in the mid-late 1800s. dante loved to “rescue” young women and turn them into his muses — he particularly liked women with long, wavy hair; he and his friends called them “stunners”.
"veronica veronese" by dante gabriel rossetti
Christina Rossetti, badass baby sister that she was, had some stuff to say about the pre-raphaelites’ male gaze. and because she was even more badass than that, she wrote what she had to say as a sonnet and specifically called out her brother:
"In an Artist’s Studio" (1896)
One face looks out from all his canvasses,
One selfsame figure sits or walks or leans:
We found her hidden just behind those screens,
That mirror gave back all her loveliness.
A queen in opal or in ruby dress,
A nameless girl in freshest summer-greens,
A saint, an angel;—every canvass means
The same one meaning, neither more nore less.
He feeds upon her face by day and night,
And she with true kind eyes looks back on him,
Fair as the moon and joyful as the light:
Not wan with waning, nor with sorrow dim;
Not as she is, but was when hope shone bright;
Not as she is, but as she fills his dream.