my make believe collection :: 4 :: nathan lynch

Contributor post by Lisa Solomon

hello hello.

did you think i was going to post about another woman artist? as i've been pondering what to post next here i'm realizing is that many of my all time favorite / go-to artists are women. which i'm in NO WAY apologizing for - but i didn't want to seem completely gender biased [insert smile here] so i thought i'd talk about a guy today - nathan lynch.

here's where the full disclosure comes in. i know nathan - he lives and works in the bay area - and like jennifer startkweather i'm hopeful that i may actually own a piece of his someday. one time nathan and i were on a CCA senior review panel and i was struck by how similar our tastes and instincts were. we also went to the same grad school [although not at the same time].

i have to say - nathan's work is totally NATHAN. what do i mean by that? well - he's sort of an understated kind of guy. really really smart [but quiet about it]- dry dry sense of humor [for proof - check out his wheel project] - insightful - self-effacing. he thinks big, though, and deeply - and he's an impeccable craftsman [i think we are both firm believers that art should be beautifully manufactured - even if it's absurd or highly conceptual in nature]. and really those are all things i could say about his work, not just him as a human being.

the sweetspot, an installation at the Richmond Art Center

this was the first time i saw an installation of nathan's [and before i knew him personally]. i couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculousness of this totally "male" trophy room. there were fishing trophies to anchovies, an almost obscene phallic fake moose head, a bar complete with neon signs that screamed "BIG BEER". i myself am interested in gender and how things operate in masculine and feminine spheres and what we use trigger points for our associations with gender. nathan was totally playing with the stereotypes of this kind of male [one who would set up this space] - and what he might put on his wall and why. ultimately i was also intrigued with the idea of nathan replicating all these things - creating an alternate universe that resonated with things that i knew, but in this reality was entirely it's own phenomenon.

more recently nathan created these decoy ducks. i love the use of wooden platforms - like conveyor belts - instead of pedestals. the pedestal is always tricky when it comes to art i think [but that's another post]. i love that these ducks are funny and yet slightly forlorn at the same time. poor things - they have silly beaks that they've hastily tied on - who are they trying to fool? they each seem to have a distinct personality - the drooping bill or tip of their head emphasizing his/her view of the world

the siamese twin ones really appeal to me - in their shapes and in their double your fun-ness. i think what strikes me about nathan's work is that in some ways he's poking fun at artmaking as a practice [because really when you boil it down - why do we make art? is it a primal need? does it REALLY hold a function in society - i could argue that it does - but it's not a necessity that is on par with clean water to drink and food to eat.] and yet he's simultaneously and almost furiously admitting that it's one of his greatest passions in life.

nathan's work is formally and aesthecially appealing [in other words it looks good], and yet there are layers to it. you end up thinking about process - how were these made and who would make them, you could ponder about our society and how we collect and honor things, perhaps even contemplate a bit about what it means to be a man in america [or more aptly what it means to fit the stereotype of a certain man - or move very very far away from that].

so if i were to choose one piece for my collection [which you can continue to follow on pinterest] it would be this:

i adore the shape of the white body - the very subtle shifts in form that allude to muscle mass and produce slight undulations in the pristine shape. i like that these birds are facing opposite directions - as if they are incapable of collectively deciding which direction they should go. the beaks - lovely and so fine - with those tear drop ends - so dark and much smoother in comparison to the more roughly carved heads/bodies. the beaks alone are simply beautiful. these eyeless birds with their silly beaks. what do their real beaks look like under there ?? maybe if i owned the piece i would take one off and try it on for size... if only i was so lucky.

until next time......

Jan Halvarson


kara rane said...

excellent work and nice website Nathan Lynch,,loved your pick Lisa-also like the black bodied bird on artists home page.

lisa solomon said...

hey kara - thanks ! i love that bird on the home page too, but since i get to pick whatever i want - i finally decided on a double one :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a lovely introduction to someone's work i was not familiar with. I can see the similarities between his and your work in many respects....the serious attention to details with a still whimsical point of view.

molly said...

these are beautiful. just gorgeous. i would pick the same one! and you write about them perfectly. captured in words.