© Holly Lynton

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Holly Lynton

Leverett, Massachusetts

Artist Statement

"Bare Handed" was published in 2022 as a monograph by L'Artiere Edizioni. Here is a description of the series and the book:

In "Bare Handed," artist Holly Lynton presents a nuanced portrait of rural life in the United States today. Returning to specific communities year after year, Lynton moves beyond mythology to reveal a complex social landscape suffused with tradition but unburdened by nostalgia. The 85 gestural portraits and visceral landscapes in her debut monograph depict people working barehanded in tandem with their environments, using tools mostly replaced by mechanization. Begun in 2007, this more than a decade-long series goes far beyond the yields of a harvest to celebrate an almost spiritual state of being that emerges from time-honored practice and underscores a commitment to unmediated experiences with the natural world.

“Lynton’s spellbinding color photographs convey an elemental connection to animals, the earth, and ritualized agricultural practices. The imposing, often tense physicality of the men, women, and animals and the dramatic lighting turn barns and compost heaps into stages for conflict, surrender, and transfiguration” (The Boston Globe).

Lynton’s keen attention to cultural visual memory is further contextualized in original poetry and essays by art historians Terence Washington and Carl Fuldner.

Terence Washington: “By incorporating recognizable symbols, Lynton invokes cultural memories, the touchstones that form us as individuals and unite us through shared experience.”

Carl Fuldner: “Lynton’s photographs portray rural life in a way that neither plays on our sympathies nor holds people up as totems of American values. In the place of these, they present a third way, offering a healing path outside the cycle of pride and despair—beyond the pride of believing that our salvation lies in our control without regard for our obligation to that which sustains us, and beyond the despair that places the burden outside our reach.”

© Holly Lynton

Holly Lynton's Portfolio

© Holly Lynton

Artist Biography

Holly Lynton (American, b. 1972) is an artist living in Western Massachusetts. Her photographs focus on understanding rural communities in the United States through their agricultural history, current industry, and rituals. Currently, she is examining the intersection of faith, history, and the environment. Lynton received a BA in psychology from Yale University in 1994 and an MFA in photography from Bard College in 2000. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally and are held in several public collections. Lynton has received numerous awards and grants including the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, Critical Mass Top 50, the Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, and the Syngenta Photography Award. Yale University awarded her a postdoctoral research fellowship in 2019 at the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance. Her work has been featured many publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, and Harvard Design Magazine. Recent exhibitions include "On the Basis of Art, 150 Years of Women at Yale" at the Yale Art Gallery and "Meeting Tonight: Two South Carolina African American Camp Meetings" at the Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University. Lynton’s monograph "Bare Handed" was published by L’Artiere Edizioni in 2022.



© Holly Lynton

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