Nov 042012
 

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Joanne Lyons is a Saskatoon video and installation artist. Childhood memories often inform Lyons’ art; she began a recent series on “lightness” by playing with a video of her five-year-old self chasing a butterfly. Lyons had watched the video with her family many times. “It came to me one day that it would be a good way to symbolize that feeling [of “buoyancy]. When I was copying the film to video and it started degenerating — that breaking apart…with spaces between everything…created an openness and airiness.”.

In Play Things, two red balls knock rhythmically and randomly against each other. Kaleidoscope uses video projections of crocheted doilies Lyons collected in thrift stores and garage sales to make shifting patterns on a child’s toy. The same crocheted collection inspired At the Bottom of Memory, a diorama of mysterious cutout creatures that evolved from graphite rubbings of the doilies..

“I love the kinds of things that you can do with technology, especially the video projection, but sometimes I have to spend a lot of time learning how to do something in order to get what I want. I like figuring things out and…will spend inordinate amounts of time…[on] some difficult technical problem and then I think, this is kind of silly, I should be making art not figuring out these little problems, but I can’t get away from it because it’s part of what I do.

“In a piece like the Corridor installation for instance, there was quite a bit to figure out, even little things like the exact distance the projector had to be from the screen and how…to do the masking. With installation art, there’s more problem-solving than in any other medium….You learn how to think on your feet because you have to come up with a solution. Artists are very good at that, and at doing it economically. You start haunting the hardware stores, looking for all kinds of materials that are really not art materials at all, and then talking to people, getting advice.”

Lyons began as a painter but says, “It was a real inspiration to me the first time I saw mixed media work. I hadn’t really been exposed to it that much so when I saw that people could use items of clothing, for instance, as art, and the way that images could be caught up and put together again and collaged…was influential and exciting.”

The concept of beauty, Lyons says,  is “essential to my art practice and to my life…Every project that I’ve done has some sense of that…the work gets more and more that way. If things aren’t going well for me, I have to search out [beauty]…I get desperate to see something beautiful. To not use beauty in your work when it’s absolutely essential in your life would be crazy.”

—Kim Aubrey

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Corridor, 2008, mixed media installation, 36′ x 8′ x 6′ (video projection, looped video 19:25, coroplast, mylar, mirrored mylar)

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Corridor, 2008, (interior)

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Corridor, 2008, mixed media installation



Kaleidoscope, 2009, mixed media installation, 5′ x 1′ x 1′ (video projection, looped video 9:08, mirror panels)

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At the Bottom of Memory, 2011, mixed media installation, 7.5′ x 9′ x 8′ (variable) (approx. 200 graphite drawings on translucent mylar, painted in transparent inks, reflective mylar, metallic thread, and air circulation)

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At the Bottom of Memory, 2011, mixed media installation (detail)

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At the Bottom of Memory, 2011, mixed media installation (detail)

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Joanne Lyons has a diverse art practice that includes video, photography, drawing, and mixed-media installation. She has exhibited nationally in solo and group shows and has work in public and private collections. Lyons received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan and continues to live and work in Saskatoon.

Joanne’s video, Play Things, is featured in the Fall, 2012, issue of Hamilton Arts and Letters.

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  4 Responses to “At the Bottom of Memory: Video & Installation by Joanne Lyons — Introduced by Kim Aubrey”

  1. It’s lovely to see these images collected here.

  2. If only I could jump through the screen and walk through along the Corridor. A wonderful collection of movement and colour.

  3. It must be wonderful to be able to create such beauty. I want to see more!

  4. A beautiful display of your artistic talents.

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