Link & Pin‘s most recent exhibit opened on Saturday evening and features the work of six Austin figurative artists who were tasked with painting their own notion of beauty during chaotic times. Entitled Go Figure, the show opened to a packed house with an ambiance that was reflective of the theme. A large swath of Austin artists and art goers turned out for the event, so before even entering the small gallery, I could feel the pulse of excitement and the breath of community that extended beyond the four walls. It was a party. And the mood was ecstatic.
There was a lot to see — not one section of wall space was bare. Between maneuvering through the large crowd and stopping for hellos and how are yous with those I know, it took some time to make my way through all of it. And I’m certain I missed some jewels, which is why I plan to return to the gallery for a second viewing when I can give the work and its creators the quiet reflection they deserve.
There were three paintings that stood out to me, though. All were by well-known local artist, Lawrence Jolly. Technically the works were en pointe, but that’s not what I want to write about. It was Jolly’s progression from toddlerhood to young adulthood and the relationship we have developed with technology that spoke to me.
In Augustine, Jolly has given us a small boy looking up at something — a bird, an airplane, perhaps a peculiar shape in the puffy white clouds. His brows are scrunched in a manner that emanates a need to understand what he sees. Heart and shoulders open to what is outside of himself. Curiosity and wonder at the world. Innocence.
Scouts Honor depicts a next phase. The formation of what could be lifelong friendships. Connection with humans other than one’s immediate family. Opinions formed on what one finds funny, entertaining, enjoyable. A shared experience. In today’s world, this may also be representative of the beginning of our disconnect to the outside world. The boys are less interested in their natural surroundings and instead are more fascinated with what is on that screen. I wonder what it is? This is the age when bad physical posture and an addiction to immediate gratification roots itself, at least for today’s younger generations, due in large part to the introduction of technological devices in our daily lives. At this age on a summer day, I was outside on my bike or exploring in the woods or jumping on the trampoline for a good 10 hours each day.
Then Jolly hands to us a scene that we see everyday in Man in Red. The indoctrination to screen time has been fully achieved. The man sits outdoors, presumably on his lunch break. Instead of focusing on enjoying the nourishment he’s providing himself or on any activity taking place around him, he’s catching up on the most recent chaos in the news. Or maybe he’s scrolling down his Facebook feed. His neck juts forward, shoulders uneven, back hunched — the posture necessary to accommodate this form of “connection.” But ultimately, he is alone. And unapproachable.
I am guilty of foregoing a lunch date with a friend in order to do the same thing. How do we get back to connecting to our immediate environment, to each other, in the information age? I ponder these questions as I raise my six year old son. How much is too much screen time when the entire world is totally dependent on it and almost any career he pursues will require it? Jolly’s work has forced me to examine my own technology habits as well. I want to be the toddler looking outward in wonderment and curiosity. And yet, it required a computer for me to tell you that.
Go Figure is on exhibit through August 18 and I highly encourage everyone to see it. Every artist displayed high quality work with the ability to evoke emotion and contemplation. Those artists, in addition to Jolly, are JC Amorrortu, Meena Matocha, Rhea Pettit, Kristi Standley and Linda Wandt (ArtProfiler’s selected artist for May 2019).
Hi Randi! I just want to thank you for the kind article you wrote on my work and the “Go Figure” exhibit at Link & Pin. I am always intrigued by how my work affects and is interpreted by other people. It’s funny and insightful and not completely incidental that you picked up on the technology part of what I see and how I see it: https://www.lawrencejolly.com/touch-store/original_art_products/logg