Ashley Lyon: Super Real
Curated by Wayne Higby and Anne Currier
Opening Reception: September 21, 2023 5pm
September 21 - December 30, 2023
Ashley Lyon’s words “Super Real” used in the title of the exhibition are carefully chosen and revealing. Real is one thing: Actual, Nonfictional, Factual. Then add the word super: Super Actual, Super Nonfictional, Super Factual. Is this then the real beyond the real?
The following is an excerpt from the essay Ashley Lyon: New Territory by Mary Drach McInnes.
"Ashley Lyon’s current work draws on her recent parenthood to create unexpected narratives. She highlights aspects of maternal life--some celebrated, some brutal—that she often combines in a single sculpture. She explains,
"Turning my attention to motherhood’s rich and complex territory of changes that intertwine the psychological and physiological, my recent work seeks to reveal the simultaneity of contradictory emotions and thoughts inherent in the birth of a mother. I hope to visually illuminate the complexity of the mother experience, breathtaking, beautiful, confusing, and grueling all at once.
In pursuing this inquiry, Lyon is part of a growing number of women artists and writers who address the contradictions of maternity. Her figurative sculpture offers us complex narratives of contemporary motherhood by using the conventions of realism, then upending them through the elements of scale and fragmentation. Through her persistent and passionate engagement—the need to describe her child’s physical presence and her own emotional reality, Ashley Lyon creates work that delights and provokes us."
Ashley Lyon (b.1983 in Palm Springs, CA) lives and works in Newburgh, NY. She received a BFA in Ceramics from the University of Washington and an MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from the Virginia Commonwealth University. Lyon has been awarded residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, the European Ceramic WorkCentre and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. She received Elizabeth Greenshields Grants in 2011 and 2014. Her work has been exhibited at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Omaha, NE; Hunter College, New York, NY; SUNY Cortland, Cortland, NY; The Sculpture Center, Cleveland, OH; Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred, NY and Jane Lombard Gallery, New York, NY. She is currently an Associate Professor of Ceramics at New Jersey City University.
Anne Currier is an internationally recognized ceramic sculptor and professor emerita of Alfred University. She taught at the New York State College of Ceramics, School of Art and Design at Alfred University from 1985 until her retirement in 2016. Her website can be visited at annecurrierceramics.com.
Wayne Higby is the current director and principal curator of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum and a professor of ceramic art at the School of Art and Design at Alfred University since 1973. He is the creator of EarthCloud, which can be viewed in the Miller Performing Arts Building and Miller Theater on the Alfred University campus. A retrospective Infinite Place: The Ceramic Art of Wayne Higby was held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C. It was accompanied by a book of the same title published by Arnoldsche, Stuttgart, Germany.
Mary Drach McInnes holds a Ph.D. in Art History and is a Professor of Art History at the New York State College of Ceramics, School of Art and Design at Alfred University focusing on sculpture. Recently, she contributed to the book, 2023, Willian Underhill: Casting a Legacy, which tracks the unique career of metal/vessel sculptor William Underhill published by Arnoldsche, Stuttgart, Germany. Additionally, McInnes has served as a consultant to the Nanette Laitman documentation project for the Archives of American Art. Her essay on Ashley Lyon’s work will be published by the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum in the up-coming catalogue documenting Ashly Lyon’s exhibition Super Real. Mary Drach McInnes website can be visited at marymcinnes.com.