Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Brose Partington and Phillip Lynam - MLP's two top 30 under 30 picks for NUVO published September 7, 2005

Phillip Lynam, 29, painter
“I always drew and painted. It was something I got attention for doing,” Phillip Lynam says of his interest in visual arts. Overseeing the Star Studio at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, he has the opportunity to inspire a new generation.

After graduating from Ben Davis High School in 1994, he received his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and MFA in painting from the University of Maryland.

“I taught design, painting and drawing at three schools in the Washington, D.C., area and would drive from one to the other,” he says of his role as gypsy professor at such schools as Montgomery College and Maryland College of Art and Design. “Basically, what I wanted to do was a full-time tenured track professorship, but they’re not just handing those out apparently,” the soft spoken Lynam laughs.

He and his wife, Mirjam, moved back to Indianapolis (“Closer to family, farther from traffic”) in August of 2003. Their son, Ian, will turn 1 this month.

“I started working in the security department at the museum because I needed a job with benefits. It actually was a really good way to sort of learn how the place worked.”

He moved over to the exhibits department a year later and has been with the Star Studio since the museum reopened this year.

“There are several ways the IMA reaches out to families with the studio programs and family days programming, but Star Studio is a unique place within that context because it’s a spot where we’re exhibiting work, and not kids artwork,” he says of the educational gallery. “It’s contemporary, challenging artwork that, framing it with activities that are geared toward families and children, gives them a way to … begin discussing the art. If it works right it ought to have a role in how kids can experience the rest of the art in the museum as well.”

Lynam adds, “Anytime that I can have young people having a good experience with contemporary art and not feeling that it’s something they are alienated from, in the long run it’s good for everybody.”

Visit to learn more about Phillips’ artwork and to learn more about Star Studio and family programming.
—Mary Lee Pappas

Brose Partington, 25, sculptor/furniture maker
“We work with the curators and the designers,” Brose Partington said of his role behind the scenes with the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s exhibition staff. “The designers have shows laid out the way they want them to be. They have it all measured up, how many paintings they want in a space. We install or build the walls to their specifications.”

Currently, they are installing 300 objects for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s International Arts and Crafts exhibition that opens Sept. 25, in a 10,000 square foot gallery space.

“We’re helping the couriers install work. We have the cases in, but still have to put fabric in them. Everything has to be sealed tight and pass conservation’s standards.”

A furniture maker and sculptor, Partington has a degree in sculpture from Herron. “I started Herron not knowing what I wanted to do and then I took a sculpture class and fell in love with it because the professors were great,” he said.

“I spent a lot of time outside as a child and playing around ponds. I loved mowing the lawn and putting designs in it with the tractor, walking along the levy and building forts with my brothers and sisters. It was great to hide, be alone and gather your thoughts with no one being able to find you the rest of the day,” he said of why nature was a major influence in his kinetic metal and wood sculptural work. “Just being outside and watching things move. I like to make sculptures that are changing and not too repetitive.

“And my dad was a clock maker. He taught me a little about mechanics,” he added about his father, artist Michael Partington. His stepmother is ceramicist Soyong Kang.

Getting his ideas to fruition is a part of the process. “There are different motions I want to do every time I want to do a new sculpture, and I’ll read a little bit about it. You have to feed your head and make things up to make it work.

“I’m trying to lead my work into more sculptural furniture and I’m about to start a project which is a kinetic piece of furniture, so it’s definitely moving toward the sculptural side. I’ve always loved wood. It influences me a lot. Just finding and looking at a piece of wood gives me ideas.”

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