David Lynch fans, if you’re wondering when the director of Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks is coming out with another movie, I can’t help you out there. But I can tell you that Lynch’s paintings, drawings and water colors will be featured in an upcoming retrospective at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, where Lynch studied painting in 1966 and 1967. Lynch was terrified of Philadelphia, and his time here inspired him to make Eraserhead. The David Lynch PAFA exhibit will mark the first time that any United States institution has embarked upon a major exhibition of his work.
The David Lynch PAFA exhibit opens on September 5th and will showcase upwards of 75 pieces he’s created since 1965, including Six Men Getting Sick (below), which he made in 1967.
From PAFA’s writeup of the David Lynch exhibit:
David Lynch is internationally renowned as the director of the films Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Mulholland Drive, and Inland Empire. What is less known is that he made his first film while he was a student of painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (1966-67). While Lynch’s interests have expanded to encompass the moving image, sound, and internet-based projects, he has always maintained his practice as a fine artist and has created a large body of paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs that both inform and are informed by his works in other mediums.
This will be Lynch’s first major survey in the U.S. and will bring together works held in American and European collections and works from the artist’s studio. Planned in conjunction with Lynch, the exhibition will bring together works of different periods unified by recurring themes often using the house as a site of violence, memories, and passion. It will feature a focused section exploring Lynch’s early work and its origins in Philadelphia (1965-70), which was a critical time in his creative development.
Much like his movies, many of Lynch’s artworks revolve around suggestions of violence, twisted humor and mystery, conveying an air of the uncanny. His work often centers around psychological and emotional states being experienced by figures (recurring characters in the work are “Mr. Jim,” “Pete,” and “Bob”) conveyed through text, their distorted forms and disturbances in the paint fields that surround or envelop them. Lynch’s more delicate drawings vary in handling and textures and are a revelatory aspect of his ongoing studio practice. While a few relate to his film projects, most are independent works of art that reveal a parallel trajectory that relates to Lynch’s work across media.
PAFA’s exhibition will feature collaborations with local film programming, in order to make the project a city-wide celebration of Lynch’s art and life.
The David Lynch PAFA exhibit runs September 5, 2014 through January 15, 2015 in galleries 8, 9 and 10 of PAFA’s Historic Landmark Building.
For more information on the David Lynch PAFA exhibit, visit pafa.org.
Here’s a fascinating interview with Lynch about the making of Eraserhead. “It all came from Philadelphia,” he says.
Here’s Lynch talking with Charlie Rose.
And here’s a television commercial Lynch did for Calvin Klein Obsession perfume.