Pictures at an Exhibition


delia_icon.gif evan_icon.gif lydia_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title Pictures at an Exhibition
Synopsis An art gallery's showing draws a crowd of both art aficionados and the people who mock them.
Date July 31, 2010

Terra Bella Art Gallery, Chelsea

The Terra Bella Art Gallery in Chelsea is not one of the ritziest in the city, but it is able to brag a growing reputation for finding new, avante-garde and edgy artists. Weekly showings are advertised in a manner of ways, more inventive than the more upscale galleries, and more likely to make their way out into the world. Colorful fliers have been posted around town inviting the general public for a "first peek" look at an exciting new artist by the name of Noemi Olvidar, whose sculpture and painting explore various Evolved themes.

The gallery itself is a small one, with hardwood floors and wooden walls, the lights dim except for where paintings and sculptures are illuminated by floodlights. Catering staff wander about in all black, holding trays of tiny appetizers of the "amuse bouche" variety and glasses of red or white wine.

Peyton Whitney arrives, dressed for the "bohemian" sort of art gallery accordingly in a long maxi dress and strappy sandals, her hair in a loose bun that shows off Lydia's recent artwork, a vibrant peacock feather on the back of her neck. She sips a glass of white wine, staring at a painting of hands stretched out past black stripes that appear to be bars, a jail cell. Each palm has a symbol painted upon it — a flame, an eye, a lightning bolt, a sun.

Dressed in a pair of black pumps and a periwinkle dress and black jacket, Lydia is dressed essentially as she normally is with the exception of the heels and her covered arms. She peers about the gallery, not really at the art. As usual, she's searching, always searching. A small smile plays on her lips, polite in its appearance, but not entirely genuine. Her eyes are analytic as they scan the room, discerning, really.

Desperately, she tries to clear her head, but to no avail. In fact, she considers leaving until her gaze lingers on that tattoo— her handiwork. She takes a step towards the door, only to stop herself mid-step. Schnook's potential legacy resting on her (and others') shoulders, she straightens, inhales a slow breath and steps forward. Unfortunately, in her focus, she neglects to notice the body that has just stepped in front of her, catching her, and a wine glass all her own that she hasn't really touched, off-guard.

Looking a little out of place, a frizzy redhead enters the gallery with a frown on her face. Delia's blue eyes sweep the room as she sticks rather close to the wall, hugging a notebook to her chest. "Damn… electives… Art appreciation was supposed to be an easy A," she mutters to herself as she comes up to the first piece of work. Among all of the dressed up people, the youngest Ryans looks quite out of place in her torn jeans and t-shirt.

She passes by a woman who is an afficionado of the works displayed, a woman who is commenting to a weasely looking man she's with. "If you see how the strokes graze the edges of the canvas, you can clearly see the anguish the artist was feeling." The young redhead squints a little at the remark and flips open the notebook to scribble down exactly what was said. Then she looks up at the painting. Then she twists her head to the side to look at it from a different angle… and promptly butts heads with someone else doing the exact same thing.

The one in danger of bumping into Lydia is heading up a trio, standing just close enough to one another to convey the sense that they're attending the opening as a group. Evan is at the back, letting the older pair (Amenoff in front, Kessler a pace behind) take the lead - this is their department, not his; he mostly just knows them because they tend to frequent the same lunch spots near campus.

Fortunately, Amenoff is deceptively quick on his feet, ducking to one side without missing a beat of his running commentary. "It's the color scheme that tells you the most— where it diverges from conventional wisdom. Look at the icy tones around that garden." Of course, everyone in New York has gotten all too familiar with ice in recent months. Evan's attention, meanwhile, is drawn to the lady in the black jacket: hasn't he seen her somewhere before?

Peyton turns away from the painting she looks at to roll her eyes at the commentary about grazing brush strokes, and turns away, wincing a little as she sees Delia bump heads with a man who is apparently here from the Daily News, his press badge dangling from his neck. He rubs his head. "Pardon me, miss," he tells Delia, before ducking out of her way.

The artist, meanwhile, a diminutive latina woman wearing torn up jeans and a fuchsia corset, a white beret covering her dark curls, watches from a distance, looking amused as people discuss her art.

Peyton's dark eyes find first Lydia's face, then Evan's, and she raises her brows in surprise. Small world. She doesn't speak to either just yet, sipping her wine instead. Little does she know that Delia and she have a very small degree of separation as well.

"Excuse me, I'm sorry," is Lydia's polite interference, even if she managed not to bulldoze any of the people over, it's at least semi-embarrassing. Her cheeks flush a pale pink as her eyes find the ground, that still-polite ever-present smile finds itself on her lips as she looks up, finally catching her bearings and regaining her balance, her eyes flit to each of the faces, issuing a more sincere apology through her own eyes, but that recognition that strikes Evan, catches Lydia.

Her gaze lingers on him somewhat longer, recognition pulling at her features before sipping at the glass of wine she hadn't been drinking, if only to make it disappear. Adjusting her jacket, she continues to gaze at him wordlessly attempting to place him. "I'm sorry," she reiterates quietly.

Delia eyes the reporter for a moment with a surly expression on her face as he scoots away, not offering an apology for her own clumsiness. Lowering her eyes to the floor she follows behind the woman who is still chattering to her companion about the piece in front of them.

"Now this one, I like that!" She exclaims as she nears a small piece that, to Delia, looks frighteningly mundane. Quirking an eyebrow high, the unfortunate student looks between the woman and then the object of her fascination. Again to the woman before turning to fully look at the thing and then inching closer before clearing her throat.

"Uhm… Ma'am, it's the light switch." Delia's face carries an arrogant little smirk as she bursts the bubble of the wannabe art critic. "Sorry, but see?" The frizzy haired young woman reaches out and click. The lights go out. Then another click and they're back on.

Across the room, Kessler looks momentarily triumphant - holding out a hand toward Amenoff, who shakes his head and stuffs a dollar bill into it - before the two of them turn and move on to the next area, resuming their earlier discussion along the way.

Evan, unknowingly left behind, thinks back— aha, he remembers now, or thinks he does. "The woman from the tent revival, right?" he offers to Lydia. "One of them, at any rate."

"Oh, my God, don't touch the exhibits!" Peyton gasps with mock shock, eyes wide as she stares at Delia before winking from the eye that the ostentatious and pedantic art critic wannabe can't see. The woman scoffs and stares at the two girls. "Juveniles," she says with a sniff before moving to the next (actual) piece, a sculpture of a woman that seems to be mid flight, but for a pair of shackles on her feet keeping her chained to the base of the work. The artist, Noemi, gives a little giggle at the antics of the two young women, giving them a nod of approval for being more down to earth before moving to mingle and speak to someone who stops her to point at a painting and ask a question.

"It's actually pretty good art, I think," Peyton says quietly to Delia, nodding to the sculpture. "I mean, the stuff that's actually on display. Not the light fixtures."

"There were a lot of people there," the observation is just that, an observation, neutral neither biased one way or another. Her features change considerably at the memory. Eyes droop slightly, and her lips twitch slightly, threatening to pull them downwards. The glass is brought to her lips, a happy distraction from the topic at hand even if she can't completely put it out of her mind, particularly as, Evan was also there. She swallows. "But yes. I was among them," again, even-toned her words flow well together, the flush deepening on her cheeks.

While she tries to stiffen and neutralize her features, her eyebrows knit together slightly, her concern for Schnook still too on-the-surface. Forcing a polite twitch of her lips upwards she sips at the wine again.

Delia starts as Peyton makes her shocking exclamation, turning a pair of wide blue eyes toward the woman. Quickly, her hand darts back to grip her notebook, almost as though feeling guilty for a second before she realizes what the other young woman was doing. Then a tentative grin creeps across her face as she nods. "I wouldn't really know an Archie comic from a Picasso," she mumbles. In truth, she probably would since her bedroom is littered with them. A guilty pleasure.

"You're an artist or something?" She speaks up this time, actually taking an interest in striking up a conversation with Peyton. "I don't get it, actually.. I mean, that woman was talking about seeing anguish and all that. I just saw a squiggle on a canvas."

Evan glances over toward Peyton, nodding briefly. "From what I understand, she's captured the right sort of mindset for her subject matter." From first-hand accounts, maybe even personal experience? Who knows. He doesn't attempt to elaborate; it's just a rough intuitive sense.

Nodding to Lydia, he steps over to the other side so that another group can pass through. "Bit of a difficult case… the guy's message is all well and good, but the money issue is going to turn a number of people away. Can't say I really blame them, either."

"Me? An artist?" Peyton says, looking amused. "Hardly." The former socialite shakes her head. "I can't even draw a stick figure. But… I mean, it's kinda symbolic, I think. Like, this one," she nods to the sculpture. "She's trying to fly but the shackles are holding her down, keeping her from doing what would probably give her joy, what's natural for her to try to do. I don't know about brush strokes or anything… but the paintings just make you feel sad or scared or oppressed when you look at them. Or me, anyway. I guess it's a mix of colors and maybe brush strokes, but I don't know. I'm not an art student."

Peyton moves to another painting, glancing over at Evan, smiling politely, but her eyes are wary. She knows where she's seen him, and it's a day she doesn't want to think about. "See, in this painting… doesn't it make you feel claustrophobic? I wonder what her ability is. She has to have one… I'll have to look her up, if she's registered." The painting that Peyton looks up at is a child peering into a mirror, her own face reflected back, but older, different in subtle ways. In the mirror, other faces peer back as well, but they are fainter, shadowy and ghostlike at once, demonic faces, some with hands reaching through the glass as if to grab the child.

"Really," Peyton says, glancing at Delia, "I just usually like what's pretty, I have to admit. The art I've bought is usually what I think will match my furniture, but I like this. I wouldn't want it hanging in my bedroom, granted… kinda creepy."

One of the art critic types, black turtleneck and all, despite the muggy weather, snorts as he walks by at Peyton's words. Only a plebeian would pick out a painting because it matches the decor, his disdainful expression clearly states.

"Money issue?" Lydia's eyebrows knit tighter together as she shakes her head. "I think… Mister— uh?" fully expecting Evan to fill in his name. "— I think money is the least of the organization's concerns right now," her free hand is lifted to her chest as she attempts to remove the weight from the words, her own feelings peeking into them. "The ideas were solid, and Wiley is genuine."

Her attention is, however, grabbed at the mention of pretty things. "I agree, but in a way we're almost drawn to things that speak volumes as to who we are." With a tight-lipped smile that borders on satisfaction she tags on, "Like your tattoo."

"Ability? Really? Because the art is good?" Delia looks between Peyton, Evan, and Lydia before turning her blushing face back to examine the sculpture some more. She takes a deep breath and holds it for a long while, long enough for her ears to change a different color from the rest of her face. With a understated whoosh she lets the long breath out and stares at the winged shackled thing. "It's .. sad."

The expression changes as the talk of decorating and furniture begins, then the look on the critic's face has the redhead trembling as she tries to keep a hold of a loud guffaw. It's difficult. "Y-you know.. The kid in the mirror, it sort of looks like this picture I saw in a magazine once." She stammers as she tries to keep the giggle under control. The giggle loop has begun.

"Langford," the guy with the beard introduces himself, offering Lydia a polite hand. "And you're right, they were— I'll take your word about him, I got pulled out kind of early on." And heard a different story outside the tent, though he's had no luck so far in following up on it.

Once again, his attention wanders over toward the art discussion in progress. "What sort of magazine?" he asks. Might as well get it out in the open, whatever she's getting at.

"Shhhh," Peyton says, her lips quirking a little at Delia's giggles, and she turns to grin at Lydia, her hand moving to her neck to trace the inked artwork there a little self-consciously. "That is indeed beautiful, through no doing of my own. And I'm not sure what it says about me except that maybe I'm vain and airheaded, but most people might agree with that notion," she says cheerfully. She isn't as airheaded as she seemed during her storied past as told by tabloids, it would seem, but it's been a long time since she's been in the news — the year anniversary of her kidnapping at the hands of Humanis First is coming up in a couple of weeks, and other than that, there were mentions of her being the friend of murder victim Wendy Hunter, killed in March. No embarrassing stories of drunken escapades with the likes of Paris Hilton or Nicole Ritchie have graced for quite some time.

To Delia and Evan, she smiles. "This is Lydia, who did my tattoo just last week or so," she says to help introduce everyone. "I'm Peyton Whitney, by the way," she says, holding a hand to Delia and then Evan, to whom she nods. "We've kind of met, I think. On the subway."

"Pleasure to meet you both— and I'm glad you like it even days later," the smile turns more genuine. "If either of you ever want work done, I'm sure this young lady can pass along my card— "

Lydia's gaze flits to a man near the exit who strikes just a faint glimmer of recognition. "I'm sorry… I need to…" the man she's spotted is lost in the crowd, "Will you… excuse me?" Biting her bottom lip, her weight shifts as she navigates her way through the crowd, in pursuit of said-man, yet it'll just be a pipe dream again, another ghost from her past that only strikes recognition in her own mind— closer inspection reveals another stranger who looks nothing like anyone she's looking for.

At the introduction, Delia's eyes widen just a little. She'd read the pamphlets and celebrations of Peyton's kidnappings when she still ventured in those circles but it had been a while. Gnawing at her lower lip, she shakes the woman's hand, her own feeling rather chill. "I.." her gaze follows the tattoo artist's abrupt exit and she pivots one of her booted feet to follow. "I should get going too. Early day at work tomorrow and.. I think I got enough from that woman to get a C in my class."

Nodding to the both of them, Delia offers a quick 'pleasedtameetcha' and practically runs toward the door. The poor reporter gets an armload of redhead as she collides with him yet again, this time Delia does apologize. "Sorry… excuse me, I have to get going."

What is it about places like this, anyway? Evan has been dragged to a few of them before, but there's something about the cadence that always seems to throw him off, somehow. Maybe it's just the different mindset underlying the geography. Lydia and Delia heading off in quick succession is just a coincidence, of course, but it's his own fault that he let the other two wander off earlier without at least making plans to meet back up later.

He's considering taking off in the direction he thinks he saw them leave— but no, what was that? "You're—" He scratches his head, reviewing his somewhat limited memories of that day. "Right, I think you were talking to the man who grabbed my wallet? Accidentally. Returned it later."

The clairvoyant frowns a little. She was rather proud of her ability to run off Lancaster the other day, but less so of her ability to scare away Lydia and the redhead. She hasn't been much for the social scene over the past year, and stepping back into it is harder than she thought it would be. "Oh, did he? He must have thought it was his, or something. I'm sure he wouldn't have taken it on purpose," Peyton says with a shake of her head.

She drops her eyes for a moment, concentrating on Evan's friend, the taller of the two that she saw with him, letting his surroundings replace hers for a moment while her gaze is to the floor. Blinking, she takes a sip of her wine, before lifting her eyes once more. "Your friends, I saw them step out just a couple moments ago, if you're looking for them. I doubt they've gotten to the street corner yet, if you wanted to catch up," she says helpfully.

"Well, 'or something', yes," replies Evan. "Pretty sure I dropped it in the confusion" - of which there was an awful damn lot - "and it had my work number, but I hadn't been checking it much over the summer." Which places him in some type of academic context, probably; nothing too unusual at a venue like this.

A few years ago, the use of an ability like hers would probably have sailed past him, while a properly trained agent might have spotted it right off. These days - hiding an ability of his own, and otherwise struggling through an awfully weird year from a personal standpoint - he falls somewhere in the middle of that range, and merely becomes aware of the possibility. Might be an ability - her motivation for working with this particular artist? - or maybe she's just stretching the definition of 'moments'. Definitely too vague to do anything more than file away for later reference. "Thanks, I— I'd better go track them down. We carpooled over, I don't want to keep them waiting."

"Right. Nice to see you again," she says with a smile, though it's a polite one — her eyes hold no disdain for him, either; he is simply a reminder of that frightening day. "Have a good night," she adds, letting him to find the exit and turning away to move to another painting: this one a pair of eyes taking up the huge canvas, reflections of a smoky skyline in the wide pupils. This is a painting she can relate to on many levels.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License