Toby Lunn Opens Home Gallery
Joining other Bahamian artists who hold personal exhibitions out of their homes – Stan Burnside and Antonius Roberts, for example – Toby Lunn’s new gallery space, The Red Gallery, is set to add to the visual art landscape.
Lunn celebrated its opening with an inaugural exhibition of his own work under the title “Homa”.
A ceremonial fire, “homa” is the perfect way to christen the warm and intimate space.
“If you take a fire, it’s just a fire, but when you make it a spiritual and sacred event, it become something. Otherwise, it’s just a fire,” said Lunn. “Homa is a fire ceremony where you’re honoring what’s happening in that event, so I liked that as my opening stance.”
Indeed the collection of work – all created in the past two years – is quite fiery with its warm palette and highly expressive brushwork. Lunn’s paintings always ask for a gut response from viewers, a rawness that often – like his new gallery – eliminates any formalities and allows for a space of honest discussion.
“It’s nice to have things that are clinical and by the book and exact, but here’s also something beautiful about something intuitive and free and without concern for approval,” said Lunn. “I like the combination of two though – it’s not always about either/or.”
In that vein, Lunn sees his gallery space not as a subversive space but rather one that only adds to the growth of an already thriving culture of visual arts.
“It’s not either/or – great big gallery spaces are fantastic as well,” he said. “It’s not about one being better – it’s just about adding another venue. It’s an expansion.”
“I think it’s a good idea to have another space – the more spaces in Nassau we have the more expansive our community gets.”
Having a home gallery, he explained, also frees the artist from restrictive deadlines and guidelines, giving them more control over the way their work is presented.
With his studio space in the back and a gallery space at the front, Lunn both invites structure into his living space and injects informality into an otherwise very formal practice. Such a space presents more of a whole picture of the artist as well as a comfortable atmosphere where pressures to buy and sell are lifted, allowing easy and intimate conversation to flow.
“I learned from Kendal Hanna that spaces don’t have to be polished; shirts don’t have to be tucked in every time you show – sometimes a working space is appropriate,” said Lunn.
“When people come by to look at the art and space and talk, it means they can sit, relax, have a cup of tea or something. It’s that kind of idea, that it’s become personal.
“I just want honesty when people come in here – if someone comes in and says they don’t understand or like a painting, that’s a good place to start,” he continued. “Work exists in the environment it’s made in. It’s a dialogue.”
Though Lunn said he will mostly display his own work at The Red Gallery, he hopes to also use the space for intimate group shows as well, allowing the gallery to expand on an already rich and exciting conversation about Bahamian visual culture.
“It’s not like this is it – this is just a part of a whole collective,” he said. “I love showing as part of galleries, group shows. This is another means of getting work moving.
“No artist lives in a vacuum. Without networking and connecting to the public through other venues, growth won’t happen.”
The Red Gallery is open by appointment only. Call 376-4098 or email email@example.com.
By Sonia farmer,
The Nassau Guardian
Arts & Culture
Published: Saturday, February 11, 2012