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What is the value of a human life? There is no democracy at the end of a gun. Linda Lighton is an artist who creates without reticence. She has always addressed social and cultural topics, but her subject matter was less about the United States specifically and more about infinite nuances of sexuality, repression, gender, power, control and desire across cultures. In recent years, the scope of her vision has moved outwards from the bodily and the autobiographic to a direct critique of the impact of gun violence in our time. Lighton, ever interested in the corporeal, has focused her new work on violent death, on death as robbery rather than journey. Thus, the work in Taking Aim is both formally seductive and conceptually subversive. The violence that Lighton references in this exhibition is directly connected to a materialistic love of weaponry, its proliferation in homes across the United States and a disconnection between easy trigger fingers and tragic consequences. In this show, Lighton links gun violence to violence against women, and then connects both ideas to capitalist greed and the human preoccupation with power, control and status. Taking Aim is Lighton’s first exhibition that is directly and specifically about American culture, and the impact of gun ownership across an increasingly violent, deracinated and unstable society, forcing the viewer to become an unwitting participant in the dilemma that is at the heart of American culture today: that we are attracted to violence, and ashamed of our collusion in its prevalence. Great artists make works that address the culture in which they live. Through the repeated motifs of the gun, the flower and the bullet, Lighton presents the viewer with a visual representation of the conflicted psyche at the heart of the national debate on the right to bear arms. Tanya Hartman, curator


I don’t want a bullet to kiss your heart, 2012 ceramic, glaze and steel 101 x 96 x 28 inches


44 Magnum Mandala, 2011 porcelain, glaze, and steel 28 ½ x 19 ½ x 4 inches


Cause and Effect, 2011 ceramic and glaze 24 x 23 x 26 inches


Thoughts and Prayers 2, 2018 ceramic, glaze and paint 20 x 22 x 10 ½ inches


Thoughts and Prayers, 2018 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 24 x 27 x 8 ½ inches


Hit me, 2012 ceramic, wood, paint and metal leaf 48 x 48 x 8 inches


Hands up, don’t shoot, 2015 ceramic and glaze 16 x 17 ½ x 13 inches


Modern City State, 2016 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 13 x 9 x 8 inches


Love and War: the Ammunition II, 2011 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 26 x 16 ½ x 18 inches


Love and War, the Ammunition III ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 14 pieces various sizes


Allegretto Con Moderato (medium), 2016 ceramic and glaze 12 ½ x 22 x 14 inches


Allegretto Con Moderato (small), 2016 ceramic and glaze 10 x 18 x 15 ½ inches


La Petite Mort, 2016 ceramic, glaze, and china paints 20 x 30 x 13 inches


Camouflora, 2007 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 35 x 20 x 13 inches


Camouflora (small), 2004 herrend porcelain, china paint and luster 22 x 14 x 9 inches


Passing Through a Portal Lighton has had her own experiences of gun violence. Her father was shot in Kansas City and paralyzed from the neck down. Later in her life, her husband witnessed a shootout at a gas station in Kansas City that left two young men murdered. And, she has had her own car shot at and vandalized, when it was parked on the street outside her studio in Kansas City. These occurrences were a portal through which the artist crossed. Once through, her perceptions of the world in which she lived were altered. Rather than assuming that because she did not see guns daily, that they were not there. She realized that guns, and aggression were always there, seething beneath the surface of quotidian routine. In this way, newer gun sculptures are connected to the artist’s older work that addressed sexuality using hybrid, botanically inspired forms. Lighton’s dreamy, gorgeous, sexually charged botanical work, asserts that sensuality and erotic longing are always just under the superficial membrane of the conscious mind. In My Desire, she is emphasizing that belligerence and violent impulse lie just under our collective consciousness, barely concealed and regularly erupting in terrifying spasms of destruction.  Miami Sea Sponge: Ricci’s Samba Partner, Tinkerbelle, Samba Dancer, Tube Worm and Miami Sea Sponge all allude to masturbatory pleasure —the botanical forms simultaneously vaginal and yet manipulated to appear somewhat like sex toys. This earlier work that is overtly sexual is a precursor to the work that depicts pistols and automatic rifles. Unfettered shooting and killing is ejaculatory and unstoppable, like desire, like orgasm, and currently guns are fetishized much like toys of pleasure. Tanya Hartman, curator


My Desire, 2016 ceramic, glaze and china paint 24 x 14 x 12 inches


Chive Flower, 2016 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 21 x 23 x 10 inches


Miami Sea Sponge, 2009 ceramic, glaze and china paints 9 x 14 ž x 7 inches


Tinkerbelle, 2007 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 14.5 x 13 x 12 inches


Diva Peregrine, 2013 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 18 ½ x 13 x 12 inches


Ricci’s Samba Partner, 2007 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 18 ½ x 13 x 9 ½ inches


Samba Dancer, 2007 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 18 x 14 x 8 inches


Rumor Starter Tubeworm, 2005 ceramic, glaze, china paint and luster 17 x 5 x 6 inches


Gossip Columnist Tubeworm, 2005 herrend porcelain, glaze, china paint and luster 17 x 5 x 6 inches


Biography | Linda Lighton Linda Lighton is an artist and activist living and working in Kansas City, Missouri. She is a passionate advocate for the arts both regionally, nationally and internationally, and she is committed to being creatively prolific and politically engaged on a daily basis. Lighton has had more than 60 solo shows and has participated in more than 170 group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Linda Lighton's work is in national and international collections in China, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey as well as The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS; Ariana Museum, Geneva, Switzerland; Fule International Ceramic Museum, Fuping, China, the Yingee Museum in Taiwan, and Icheon International Ceramic Museum, Icheon, Korea. In 2008, she was chosen for the Missouri Arts Award, and in 2011 she received the Award for Excellence in the Visual Arts and Education from the Kansas City Art Institute, where she graduated with honors in 1989. In 2016, Lighton received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the National Council for the Education of the Ceramic Arts. She is a member of the International Academy of Ceramics.

For purchase inquiries, email linda@lindalighton.com Photo credit for catalog belongs to E.G. Schempf

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Taking Aim |Power, Gender, and Firearms  

Linda Lighton is an artist who creates without reticence. She has always addressed social and cultural topics, but her subject matter was le...

Taking Aim |Power, Gender, and Firearms  

Linda Lighton is an artist who creates without reticence. She has always addressed social and cultural topics, but her subject matter was le...

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