Liséa Lyons: Locket

February 7 — March 16, 2013

On February 7th Liséa Lyons opens her first solo show of photographs at Nancy Hoffman Gallery. Known for well over a decade in the San Francisco Bay area where she lived for many years, Lyons’s voice has been a contemplative one, reflecting on life's ages and stages, using her daughter and herself as subject and model. The exhibition opens on February 7th and continues through March 16th.

Memory and time as captured moments bring to mind themes of beauty, form and nature. The rich fabric of adolescence punctuates Lyons's photographs as her subject moves away from childhood and into adulthood. These are images ripe in sentiment, though unsentimental. They vibrate with both grace and unease, calculating imminent change. With subtlety and ambiguity in her range of images, Lyons alternates between living presence and physical relic.

Traditionally working in color, the artist now incorporates stark black and white imagery. Lyons has also created an anecdotal glimpse into past memories by combining her new work with pieces from the early 2000s. Included in the exhibition are images of nature, roses being a particular favored subject. Roses often mark occasions, quickly come and gone. In her images of white roses lie promises and dreams; red roses past their prime, fade in focus like days on the calendar or occasions that soured as they unfolded, memories of these too fade.

Lyons fuses the rich qualities of landscape within her portraiture of her daughter. A young girl gazing at fresh fallen snow as yellow flowers dance in front of her eyes-- flowers that might decorate a child's cake--a hope, a wish. Her profile suggests that she is only there in part. Hair as a memento figures into several images, among them a lock of baby hair enters an airmail envelope, preserved for years, to be sent off or kept in perpetuity. A lock of hair in full color is an addendum to a black and white image of her as a teenager, she leans against a wall, a startling young woman closed in thought.

Each of Lyons's images in its own quiet, personal way touches a universal chord in the viewer, a reminder of the preciousness of time, as the stages of life unfold.

The artist has written about her work:

“I wonder how the mind decides which memories to keep. There are certain moments you can always return to, never knowing why. Not the graduations, births and weddings, but the strange summer day where nothing ever seemed to happen. It seems odd and unsettling that you can still see the colors and feel the temperature of what was just another day.

“As time passes and the familiar landscape fades, I begin to see my memories, ordinary days, and dark spaces. The indulgences of both love and fear. Things once held so

close are now just dust and shadow in the afternoon light. The picture becomes a window or mirror, leaving only the intention (desire) to keep and protect.”

The artist’s work has been shown at The California College of Arts, Oakland; The Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York; Gallery 1401, University of the Arts, Philadelphia; J. Wayne Stark University Center Galleries, Texas A&M University, College Station; The Jones Center, Austin Museum of Art, Texas; Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Kiyosato, Japan; Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle.

Her work is included in the collections of The Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York; Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Kiyosato, Japan; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas.

Liséa Lyons was born in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1971. She received a B.A. from Tulane University, New Orleans and M.A. from San Francisco Art Institute, California; she also attended California College of the Arts, San Francisco.

For additional information and/or photographs, please call the gallery at 212-966-6676 or email

Yours sincerely,

Nancy Hoffman