A solo exhibition of new paintings by Minneapolis artist Charles Lyon opens March 4 at Groveland Gallery. Lyon settled in Minnesota in 1994 after spending over a decade living in the Arizona high desert where he taught photography, rock climbing and kayaking. Lyon spent much of his artistic career as a photographer, concentrating on black and white images of the natural world. Through his focus on photography, Lyon developed an appreciation for the compositional and formal elements found in nature. But after years of looking at the wilderness through the lens of a camera, the possibilities inherent in other mediums became intriguing. He returned to school to study painting and received his MFA degree from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1999.
Lyon continues to be inspired by color and scale in the landscape. For his upcoming exhibition, Lyon focuses on two seemingly disparate subjects – drifts of winter snow and garden flowers. For Lyon, images of melting snow and images of ephemeral, blooming flowers share similar traits. To describe their common qualities of opacity, translucence and transparency, Lyon embraces the challenge of painting the effects of light and the range of color it produces in both snow and flowers. The artist explains: “it is the subtle tints and tones that I must find to make the subject appear real, a convincing representation. Sometimes the excitement of searching for a particular color is impetus for a painting.”
Snow and flowers are familiar images to Minnesotans, who will sense a dialogue in this exhibition between the Midwest’s seasonal extremes: cold, icy winters and the warm renewal of spring. At the same time, Lyon’s paintings alert us to the thematic similarities of evanesce and transience in his subjects: “the lives of flowers and piles of snow are quick and fleeting. Their history is similar to that of fire – consuming itself while burning itself out.”
Lyon will be present at the opening reception on Friday, March 4 from 5-8 pm. This exhibition and opening run concurrently with Land Passages
, an exhibition of new paintings by Andrew Wykes in the Groveland Annex. Both exhibitions will continue through April 9.