Manu Scriptus: Illuminated Manuscripts

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Manu Scriptus: Illuminated Manuscripts

548 West 28th St (6th Floor, Suite # 632)
10001 New York City
May 22nd, 2007 - June 9th, 2007
Opening: May 26th, 2007 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

(212) 414-4040
Tue-Sat 12-6

NYC, Chelsea-Viridian Artists Inc is pleased to present the first solo exhibit of Rosemary K Lyons at its Chelsea location. Rosemary K. Lyons’ exhibit “MANU SCRIPTUS: ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPTS” is on view May 22 – June 9, 2007. There will be a reception for the artist Saturday, May 26th, 4-6 pm. Long interested in the illuminated manuscript, Lyons immerses herself in this ancient form, translating it into her own version of political history and stories of strange realities of the 21st century.

Inspired by newspaper and magazine articles, she has tackled a wide range of difficult topics including Clarence Brown, subway shooters, genetics and AIDS. Long interested in calligraphy, and formerly a painter of realism, she began her first prototype of what was to become her Manuscriptus Series when living in New York City in 1992. The idea of transforming her creative outpourings into illuminated manuscripts rather than paintings was initially born out of a dream, but with large paintings still unfinished in her studio, the manuscripts were put on hold.

Taking a minimum of two years to complete each series, Lyons translates political news into her own sense of the ironic. The artist, noticing a New York Times article about Clarence Thomas began that work with the letter “I”, translated that first letter of her illuminated manuscript into the balance beam of justice. Her “Book of Hours”, the diary of a man living with AIDS, was first shown at the Burchfield-Penny Art Center in Buffalo in 1998. Copies of this “manuscript” were boxed and sold to benefit AIDS Family Services. “Manuscriptus” was first shown at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in 1998.

Lyons tells tales often horrifying in their reality, but they are all real. For her, the challenge to learn with each piece she creates and the freedom to add her voice – quite often sardonically- gives her a soapbox from which to lend her voice to a variety of charitable causes. In yet another work, “Friends of the Night People”, Lyons illuminates stories told her by soup kitchen clients whose voices are most often unheard. The artist’s decision to employ methods hundreds of years old to comment on the news of the 21st century was initially an unconscious inspiration, but has served as the master thread of her art providing the synergism locking together the form & content of her ideas.

The personal is also an important part of her oeuvre. In “Lies of the Saints, (playing on “Lives” of the Saints), Lyons has created a fifty page autobiographical compilation of illuminated true stories from her own life. In Latin, she begins the first page with the phrase “The observer changes the observed”. “Sexual Misadventures” is a comedic subset and counterpart to the artist’s autobiography in comic book form complete with Q&A’s and ads.

Lyons grew up in a house with three blind sisters and without art. Luckily her vision is above normal and perhaps because of her acute vision - both in sight and determination - and a childhood devoid of aesthetic appreciation, she sees Art and education as intertwining and each feeding the other. Her teaching and art making mantra is “use beauty to seduce people into thinking” and for her, calligraphy and the illuminated manuscript satisfy her need to aesthetically express her beliefs and reactions to what is happening in our world.

Lyons received her Master of Fine Arts at the State University in Buffalo and has exhibited widely: in Buffalo and upstate New York at the noted Hallways and the Albright Know Museum, as well as university, corporate and hospital galleries. In New York City she has shown both her paintings and Manuscriptus at Gallery OneTwentyEight, Soho 20, A.I.R., the Center for Book Arts & other locations. In 1991, she won the Foster Award at the Chatauqua Institute and 2nd prize in the National Society of Artists Show in Santa Fe, Texas.
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