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Opening Reception: Matthew Picton and Robert Lyons

Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Event organized by Elizabeth Leach Gallery

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In April, Elizabeth Leach Gallery presents 'El Dorado', sculptural relief by Matthew Picton and 'One Eye Crying', new photographs by Robert Lyons.

Matthew Picton delves deeply into sites of cultural, political and sociological significance through elaborate three-dimensional sculptural artworks made from paper cut-outs. Each one is layered with historical text and imagery related to specific locations throughout the globe, and his new series, 'El Dorado' feature sites throughout Europe, South America, and Africa that exemplify man’s quest for riches. El Dorado was known as the mythical city of gold believed to exist somewhere in the vast Amazon basin. Although no more than a mirage, it remains a powerful symbol of humankind’s feverish madness in pursuit of wealth and commodity.

The artworks included in Picton’s 'El Dorado' exhibition present correlating literary narratives which coexist alongside contemporary music and movie references. A highlight of the show includes one of the artist's largest artworks to date: a breathtakingly massive and brilliantly executed 10 foot x 10 foot unframed wall sculpture titled 'Histories of the Congo River #2', 2018. In all of these artworks Picton is figuratively and literally layering meaning to illuminate periods of societal and cultural upheaval within each country's past to present. The artist continues to present a multifaceted look at human history; one that acknowledges periods of violence and oppression and the indefatigable beauty and resilience that endures.

Born in London, England, Matthew Picton studied politics and history at the London School of Economics. His work is included in the collections of the de Young Museum (San Francisco, CA), the Herbert Museum of Art (Coventry, UK), the Fidelity Bank collection (London, UK), the Stadt Museum (Dresden, Germany) and the New York University Langone Medical Center Collection (New York, NY).

Picton’s forthcoming solo exhibition at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University of Oregon will open in the fall of 2018.

Photographer Robert Lyons’ is best known for his richly complex photographs of Africa and Egypt. His color series 'One Eye Crying' focuses specifically on Easthampton, Massachusetts, a location steeped in art historical and personal significance for the artist. The light and landscape of Northeastern America has long been a source of inspiration of painters and photographers, most famously idealized by generations of painters of the Hudson School among others.

Lyons title for his ongoing series, 'One Eye Crying', refers to a German idiom meaning "being torn between" or "being of two minds". The title reflects a state of irresolution the artist knows well as an American who lived outside of the states for much of his career. Lyons creates beguiling pictures from his hometown that appear both familiar and exotic through his lens.

A sense of discovery resonates through the series as Lyons captures authentic moments of connection and recognition in his portraits, still lifes and landscapes. Set among overgrown vertiginous backgrounds, cloudy grey parking lots or forgotten wooded roadsides, Lyons makes pictures that inspire curiosity and longing for the stories his subjects could tell.

Robert Lyons received his BA in Photography form Hampshire College (Amherst, MA) and his MFA from Yale University (New Haven, CT). Lyons’ work has been shown internationally for forty years, including exhibitions at the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park (Lincoln, MA), Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, (Kansas City, MO), Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA) and the Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA). He is a recipient of the Ford Foundation Fellowship and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has published several books, including 'Who Decides?', 'Intimate Enemy: Images and Voices of the Rwandan Genocide', 'Another Africa', and 'Egyptian Time'. His work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, NY), Portland Art Museum (Portland, OR), Seattle Art Museum (Seattle, WA) and Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA).