ABINGDON, VA --"Sanctuaries III" by Val Lyle of Bristol, Tenn., takes the viewer into Lyle's childhood playground: a barn, complete with textures and smells -- fresh hay, for example. For many, the combined aromas of sweet hay, drying tobacco and bailing twine is enough to send them on a journey. Yes, please crawl through the hay bale tunnel.
* A reception for the third installment of Lyle's Appalachian trilogy, "Sages and Sanctuaries," will be held Sunday, Aug. 23, from 2-4 p.m. at The Arts Depot in Abingdon. As part of the reception, old-time music will be provided by Roy Andrade, Cary Fridley and Doug Dorschug alongside large projections of the artist's photographs.
* In addition, Lyle will present an Art Talk Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. on how she developed her show.
"Sanctuaries III" is on display through Sept. 26.
View a slide show of the installation, and step into her childhood. Click HERE.
Artist Statement by Val Lyle:
Art in its most successful execution evokes a deep cerebral reaction.
This installation art -- or perhaps the new term Immersion Art is better suited to describe this work -- uses light, scale, textures, colors and, in particular, smells to tap into the viewers' deeper senses.
A new visitor closes her eyes, pauses in her steps, and breathes deeply in-the aroma of good red clover hay, tobacco drying, and the distinct scent of bailing twine. A slow smile crosses her face before she opens her eyes, "Like Dorothy, I'm finally home!" she exclaims!
This piece is about memory.
A similar reaction occurs when the gallery viewer musters the courage to try out the red swing installed in the center of the space. Hesitant at first, like riding a bicycle, the worn body remembers instinctively the motions of kicking out the feet to gain altitude and all the worries in the world fall away within the second pass. If one faces down the space, a full sensation of being within the barn occurs.
The display is carefully organized from conservative traditional exhibition on one end of the hall to evolving into organic immersion on the other end of the hall, with the red swing as the transition back and forth.
This piece is also about selective memory.
How is it that we romanticize the past, feel nostalgic about the back-breaking work and hardship endured, how is it that we rarely are able to appreciate this moment, right now, with the same attention?
There is a push-pull in this exhibit, between the "Falling Down Barns" and the playful childhood memories that is intentional.