In photographer Mark Lyon’s second presentation of his ongoing Bay Views series, the relationship between external space and what Lyon calls “active interiors”, reveals the artist’s capacity for risk. Whereas his previous work offers a clearly delineated formal conversation between internal and external space, through the use of line, shape, symbols and concepts such as minimalism, Lyon’s 2018 collection compels viewers to surrender to alternating perspectives.
Lyon’s subject matter, car washes on the East Coast, offer architecture as a point of departure. As if conducting a scientific experiment, the use of time in the new work acts as a control – specifically the “blue hour” just after the sun goes down. A consistent point of view throughout the series that captures two frames acting as distinct areas of focus within each photograph, delineated by both light and materiality, is also present: the boxy interior of the carwash and the driveway entrance/exit as a portal to the world.
In Lyon’s prior work, objects – a vacuum station, a house, the moon – focus the eye of the viewer as it leaves the confines of the car wash. However, his more recent images often trail off into the vastness of landscape, suggesting open ended and seasonal perspectives. In contrast, one piece features a blue plastic tarp that covers the exit, teasing the viewer with a backlit luminescence that hovers over a hay-filled interior. This photograph, one of three in the exhibition that will be presented at a larger scale, acts as a counterpoint to the others to further frame Lyon’s underlying interests in harmony and beauty as they pertain to the interplay of color and light. Ultimately, Bay Views repurposes a familiar American icon, the car wash, into a formalist interpretation of utility and aesthetics.
– Diana McClure
Diana McClure is a writer and photographer based in New York City. Her work has appeared in Art Basel magazine, Art in America, Photograph and The Brooklyn Rail among others.
Lyon was born in Rochester, NY in 1979. He holds an MAAS in Studio Art from SUNY New Paltz and has previously studied at the School of Visual Arts. The artist’s work has been widely exhibited throughout the United States. He was awarded the Photographers’ Fellowship at The Center for Photography at Woodstock, was featured in Photolucida’s Critical Mass Top 50, and was a runner-up for the Aperture Portfolio Prize. His work has been featured in a variety of notable publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Popular Photography. Lyon’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University and the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New Paltz, NY. The artist lives and works in Upstate New York.
All works available in 16 x 24 and 24 x 36 inches