How to Catch an Idea, David Lynch-Style

David Lynch has been getting into transcendental meditation – or so he announced at the preview of his current exhibition, David Lynch: The Unified Field, on display at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts through January 11.

"My Head is Disconnected," ca. 1994-96

“My Head is Disconnected,” ca. 1994-96

“It’s a mental technique,” Lynch explained, “that allows human beings to transcend, go beyond the field of relativity….When you start expanding consciousness, really expanding it, negativity starts lifting away, and I felt a heavy weight starting to lift, and it was very beautiful.”

Going to see the show is a bit like an act of meditation in itself. If you have any inner demons stalking through your subconscious, the paintings on the wall will rip them out and send them dancing away. It’s a safe space where the unknown and the unknowable are made tangible, more familiar and somehow slightly less frightening.

One such demon that haunts the space is that of the eternal youth – you can just picture him curled up on the floor over a pad of paper and scrawling out his terrible nightmares. Nightmares too deep, too primal for any mortal youth to process, rife with worldly experience and existential crisis. A child trying to make sense of circumstances beyond his control, an innocence still breathing, still surviving in the miasma of corruption. These nightmares take shape in the paintings, where young boys and girls who might otherwise be content with sandlots and sleepovers find themselves playing pranks that involve lighting fires and loaded guns.

"I Find it Very Difficult to Understand What is Going on These Days," 2009

“I Find it Very Difficult to Understand What is Going on These Days,” 2009

Lynch himself began drawing as a child, using scraps of paper that his father brought home from work. He remains grateful to a mother who refused to stifle his creativity with coloring books.

“And I drew knives, guns, airplanes, and I always say my favorite was the Browning Automatic Submachine Gun,” he added. His painting’s characters do not have the benefits of creativity as an outlet. In a universe confronted with assault both outwardly violent and subtly sinister, they react in kind.

The other recurring character to make an appearance in this frame-by-frame play is that of Fear Itself – FDR’s famous words made flesh. Grown men gibber to themselves in unpopulated pockets of the universe, trying to find meaning in madness, or perhaps taking comfort from madness in meaninglessness. Disembodied hands violate the sacred spaces of the home-front. Unknown figures stalk women as they try to return to the sacred space of the hearth. And the mysterious Mister Redman calls idle hands to account for their sins. There is no shelter from the self, no shelter from the eternal possibility of attack. The universe is an open and vulnerable space, crowded only by human thoughts that crawl across its roads and skies in handwritten fragments or pasted words.

She Was Walking To Her House And Then There Was Someone, 2013

She Was Walking To Her House And Then There Was Someone, 2013

A history of the human race’s subconscious is mapped out in Lynch’s work, where unnamed mythological figures born of man’s first scream confront the violence and over-saturation of the modern world. Knives, guns, and airplanes function as the playthings for the oddly-proportioned shadow figures that populate it.

“I always say Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is my biggest influence,” Lynch said. “There is something about the mood here, and the fear, insanity, corruption, filth, despair, violence in the air was so beautiful to me…The world does inspire many ideas, but once you catch an idea that you love, it’s just trying to realize that idea.”

Catch an idea of your humanity with David Lynch: The Unified Field, and realize the beauty in its vulnerability, its persistence despite despair, its courage in confronting the unknown.

Gerri Spilka’s award winning work has been exhibited in numerous art and textile shows in Europe, Canada, and the US. Trained in this order, as an artist, social scientist, and architect and urban planner, not surprisingly, Spilka’s fabric work continues to investigate themes grounded in these ways of knowing the world.
Gerri Spilka

Gerri Spilka’s award winning work has been exhibited in numerous art and textile shows in Europe, Canada, and the US. Trained…

Gerri Spilka’s award winning work has been exhibited in numerous art and textile shows in Europe, Canada, and the US. Trained in this order, as an artist, social scientist, and architect and urban planner,…

Gerri Spilka’s award winning work has been exhibited in numerous art and textile shows in Europe, Canada, and the US. Trained in this order, as an artist, social scientist, and architect and urban planner, not surprisingly,…

Heather Ossandon, a ceramist who works in both the functional and decorative arts. Her work explores both the rituals of the everyday and special occasions.
Heather Ossandon

Heather Ossandon, a ceramist who works in both the functional and decorative arts. Her work explores both the rituals of…

Heather Ossandon, a ceramist who works in both the functional and decorative arts. Her work explores both the rituals of the everyday and special occasions.…

Heather Ossandon, a ceramist who works in both the functional and decorative arts. Her work explores both the rituals of the everyday and special occasions.…

Joe Brenman is an InLiquid artist member.
Joe Brenman

Joe Brenman is an InLiquid artist member.…

Joe Brenman is an InLiquid artist member.…

Joe Brenman is an InLiquid artist member.…

Gerry Tuten’s paintings are deep encounters with the natural world. She paints woods, water, and sky with a physical vigor that reflects her spirited engagement with the environment and her urgent pursuit of personal expression.
Gerry Tuten

Gerry Tuten’s paintings are deep encounters with the natural world. She paints woods, water, and sky with a physical vigor…

Gerry Tuten’s paintings are deep encounters with the natural world. She paints woods, water, and sky with a physical vigor that reflects her spirited engagement with the environment and her urgent pursuit…

Gerry Tuten’s paintings are deep encounters with the natural world. She paints woods, water, and sky with a physical vigor that reflects her spirited engagement with the environment and her urgent pursuit of personal expression.…

Mindy Flexer makes magical realist, figurative, oil paintings. She uses observation and invention to explore identity and family relationships, and the way personal history resides within the larger arc of time. Her current work is about our extraordinary historical moment, when climate crisis threatens all life on earth, and climate justice offers the possibility of global transformation to a just and equitable world. Her visual language of a seamless world of people, animals, and place, is the language of the interconnection of all life on earth. Flexer’s paintings speak about climate in a language personal enough for people to hear it. Her goal is to inspire people to action. She hopes to connect people to themselves and each other, so each person can find their place in the mass movement necessary to create a sustainable future. In this way, she sees her paintings aspart of the great web of healing she deeply believes can save our planet.
Mindy Flexer

Mindy Flexer makes magical realist, figurative, oil paintings. She uses observation and invention to explore identity and…

Mindy Flexer makes magical realist, figurative, oil paintings. She uses observation and invention to explore identity and family relationships, and the way personal history resides within the larger arc…

Mindy Flexer makes magical realist, figurative, oil paintings. She uses observation and invention to explore identity and family relationships, and the way personal history resides within the larger arc of time. Her current…

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