SUNY Cortland’s latest Dowd Gallery exhibition explores the relationship between two-dimensional images and three-dimensional objects through ceramic sculptures and large-scale photographs of the human body.
“Ashley Lyon: Fleshing,” which runs through Friday, Nov. 22, features the work of an Alfred University faculty member based in Hornell, N.Y. Lyon teaches in the school’s Ceramics Department and focuses on the human figure fragment.
The Dowd Gallery exhibition is presented as a single installation rather than as individual pieces of Lyon’s artwork. It is free and open to the public.
The gallery remains housed for the fall semester on the third floor of Main Street SUNY Cortland, 9 Main St., while the Dowd Fine Arts Center undergoes renovations. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The gallery is closed Sunday and Monday.
Above: Ashley Lyon in the studio, 2013
A talk by Lyon takes place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12. Additionally, a ceramics workshop takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, in Old Main, Room G-40. The hands-on event is free but registration is required by calling 607-753-5745 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Rather than sculpting directly from human models, Lyon is inspired by two-dimensional images, such as photographs, Internet images or even memories. She then replicates those pictures in three-dimensional work that strives to be as real as possible.
Additionally, Lyon often pauses to photograph her sculptures during their creation with a large format camera. The three-dimensional objects are thus translated back into two dimensions once again.
Capturing the objects during the creation process also informs how Lyon proceeds with her work, which she tweaks based on how the composition appears in the camera’s viewfinder.
And while many artists choose to focus on the figure, Lyon avoids the representation of specific people or the narration of a story. She attempts instead to make the image or object devoid of any emotion by presenting it as a fragment.
Her sculpture is hand-built, not cast from real bodies or objects, and contains flaws.
Lyon admits that sculpted body parts and fragments are strewn around her studio — a leg propped up against a wall, two feet placed in front of a chair like shoes, an arm on the table with the hand dangling off the edge.
“A whole figure striving to appear hyper-realistic can often feel like a dummy or mannequin; everything is described,” Lyon says. “This halts close looking, leading to an illustrative interpretation of work.
“I am striving instead for a nearness to realism, like a peripheral vision.”
Lyon’s exhibition is supported by The Cortland Fund and Cortland College Foundation.
For more information or to schedule a group tour of the gallery, contact Gallery Director Erika Fowler-Decatur at 607-753-4216.