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Nathan Lynch

Nathan Lynch: Truthiness

An installation of ceramic sculptures by Nathan Lynch sets a stage for performances about varying viewpoints in a Post-Truth Era.

Oct 3, 2020 - Jan 24, 2021

The sculptor and performance artist Nathan Lynch shapes objects and situations that are simultaneously focused on formal qualities of sculpture, as well as satirical and philosophical observations about human nature. As the only artist to study with both abstract ceramic sculptors Kenneth Price and Ron Nagle, Lynch’s practice challenges the boundaries of material and thought—both in scale and activation. In this exhibition, Lynch aims to obscure the boundary between fact and fiction, presenting a physical and conceptual metaphor to the post-truth era—where facts, opinions, knowledge, beliefs, and emotions are confused in media interpretations of current events.

Nathan Lynch: Living in Truthiness presents hand-built ceramic and mixed media sculptures in two environments that represent different realities found in the allegory of Plato’s Cave. The first group of medium-sized abstract sculptures are in a dimly lit space, representing the cave where one observes reality as form and its shadow. The works appear malleable, almost shifting, referring to the uncertainty created by the elastic nature of truth in contemporary American culture. “Like the rise in stocks and housing markets, my sculptures appear to be inflated, yet slump, sag, and drip under implied pressure,” explains Lynch. “The forms have the tonality of a four-day-old helium balloon that hovers in the middle, suspending their meaning within layered emotions of elation, confusion, and panic.” The second environment presents large sculptures in a bright, stage-like environment, where reality is observed through awkward, semi-public interactions between individuals highlighting a shared experience of vulnerability. In this environment, Lynch uses large works that mimic various props used in speeches—podiums, step-ups, and ramps—to share a program that is similar to a variety show. Each contributor presents newly written works based on the same prompt in order to further consider the range in which truth can exist.

Nathan Lynch: Living in Truthiness shows truth as an impressionable material, like clay, revealing the flexible quality of reality within our present time. On view leading up to, during, and after the 2020 presidential election and in a hopefully post-pandemic world, this exhibition exposes the challenges of navigating the contemporary moment in America and beyond.

Organized by Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and curated by Assistant Curator Lauren R. O’Connell.

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