GALLERY 3209 is pleased to present “Dead, Headless, and Female: The Matador Paintings,” a solo exhibition of new works by CK Lyons showing at Gallery 3209.In the matador paintings, a series of work which began in 2006, Lyons makes a direct historical reference to three paintings by Edouard Manet : The Dead Man, ca. 1864; Matador Saluting, ca. 1866; and Mlle V… in the Costume of an Espada, 1862. Lyons explains, “I was initially attracted to Mlle V… in the Costume of an Espada for what I believe to be the painting’s currency, in particular, Manet’s choice of painting a woman in matador costume. This deconstruction of Mlle. V. led to investigating the symbolism of the matador.”
There are no bull fights in these paintings. They exclusively consider the matador in his/ her costume, the ritual between the two, and its metaphorical possibilities in contemporary culture. It is a ritual in preparation for a staged act of violence. The artist contemplated a symbolic connection between this ritual and the global political climate in 2006.
Lyons’ frequent use of combining the matadors with flowers was motivated by the flowers’ symbolic reference to peace. Here the artist also references Andy Warhol’s Ten-Foot Flowers, 1967, in addition to the two flower paintings found in Manet’s studio at the time of his death, Vase of White Lilacs and Roses, 1883, and Roses in a Glass Vase, 1883. As the series of paintings progressed, they acquired multiple meanings and interpretations.
In 2010, Lyons began an on-going project based on the Surrealist game, “The Exquisite Corpse.” She created surrealist phrases with adjectives, nouns, and verbs that she collected from various participants. Their use as the paintings’ titles was inspired by John Baldessari’s Goya Series: text and image combined to expand both works’ meaning as a whole and yet remained as independent works of art of equal importance.
Lyons most recent paintings from 2011 are based on a Surrealist framework. The artist states, “I believe that the fundamentals of Surrealist ideology can play an important role in a contemporary dialogue that questions our current social and political culture, a dialogue in which we are again faced with many uncertainties pertaining to our future. I am reminded of the importance to look for personal freedom through explorations into the unconscious and the internal.”CK Lyons was born in 1978 in San Francisco, California. She lives and works in Los Angeles and Sausalito, California. Lyons received her MFA in Painting/Drawing from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of California, Berkeley in 2000, receiving her BA in Art Practice. Her work has been included in exhibitions at such places as Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, Hollywood, chime & co., Los Angeles, Five Thirty Three, Los Angeles and GBE@Passerby, New York. Lyons will be in a group show, titled Manifest 770 curated by Scott S. Jennings and mosshouse, from September 9th – October 8th, 2011 at Incline Gallery in San Francisco.
Curated by Anna Meliksetian