Cynthia Broan Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of our fall season with our second solo exhibition by Shannon Lucy as well as James Clauer’s intriguing short documentary Aluminum Fowl, and photographer Brent Stewart’s portraits of the impersonator characters in the upcoming film Mister Lonely, directed by Harmony Korine. The three artists in this dynamic lineup are all friends from Nashville.
Shannon Lucy’s show last year introduced us to her world of made-up memories, the paintings depicting mementos of a faded corporate empire- maps, journals, flags and medals evoking a nostalgia for lost innocence. In this new series, Paintings, drawings and other modern artifacts, the story becomes more personal, presenting a series of childhood memories which seem to present evidence that there was indeed an age of true innocence. A little girl’s dance leotard, her cross-stitch declaring a pure heart, and a cryptic but earnest Rainbow Chart show youthful intent and abandoned endeavors. The darkness or disappointment of the future lurks humorously within the sentimentality, and the artifacts reveal the inevitable loss of the girl’s innocence. The page of a primer using the example of Bo Peep for a grammar exercise, the story of a fire in the attic, and a specimen plate of vicious, almost laughing, tiger teeth are her early teachings of a world of violence and disappointment. In another primer, we learn than Little Lucy learns the word “black”, as in sheep and flag, confronting her own nonconformity at an early age. Shannon Lucy’s world of nostalgia becomes our own, the artifacts reminding us all of the treasures, the projects and the ideals we have abandoned long ago.
Brent Stewart photographed his series of character portraits while working as still photographer for the film Mister Lonely, which recently premiered at Cannes Film Festival. The film tells the story of a Michael Jackson impersonator in Paris who ends up at a castle where a group of impersonators of famous people live communally and prepare for a big show. The black and white portraits evocatively depict people who have chosen to abandon their own identity to assume the character of the famous person they idolize. Stewart captures the longing and the loneliness of the compromised and conflicted characters, who seem to lack the confidence to pull off the celebrity they wish to become. Charlie Chaplin, Abe Lincoln, Sammy Davis, Jr. and the Queen of England are just some of the characters, but the portraits heighten the sense of struggle within the primary character, the nobody trying so hard to be a somebody.
James Clauer’s short documentary Aluminum Fowl (2006), which Brent Stewart worked on as well, is a portrait of four brothers living on a chicken farm in the rural south who hang around and fight their chickens, along with some cats and dogs. The boys don’t seem to have hopes or dreams, or any chance of change in their situation, so their struggle is primarily against boredom. They kill time by playing with the chickens, even bathing and sleeping with them, and instigating the fights just to make something happen. Despite violence and apathy, the film reveals an honesty and a sense of belonging and acceptance that ultimately makes them true protagonists.