A reception was held for artist Diran Lyons at Porterville College on Wednesday as both students, faculty, and the public attended the reception, where the reaction seemed to be varied. Many enjoyed Lyons use of collage and photoshop, and others enjoyed his satirical style.
“Diran Lyons was hired by Porterville College this past summer,” said Jim Entz, Professor of Art. “He is the newest full-time faculty member in the Porterville College Art Department. There are now two of us. I am impressed with his work and asked him if he would have a show here as a way to introduce him to the community and to the college, and I am happy he agreed.”
Notes and Narratives features Lyons’ new series of collage works in which he interprets Renaissance paintings, and uses colloquial phrases, referring to the tumultuous U.S. political landscape. Many of the works utilize tongue-in-cheek text to convey negative information about an individual in a seemingly innocuous manner. However, as with his remix videos, Lyons’ collages ultimately draw upon remix strategies and digital tools to engage current events with a strong polemical voice.
Lyons multidisciplinary conceptual art is both edgy and scathing at the same time.
When asked about his choice of renaissance artists and paintings Lyons said he would just look through his books and he’d find something that would just pop up that would immediately work for his purpose. He said about copyright, “You can use anyone’s sources as long as you recalibrate the meaning and make a new statement.” With this current show, he used renaissance paintings to comment on the present.
Looking at the paintings raptly, Marla Williams said, “I think the show is amazing. And it makes me want to learn how to do collage.
I just love it. And it was definitely worth the trip here.”
Entz, who was at the show and talking with people as he entered, said, “I like the show a lot. And Diran’s art is an opportunity for dialogue. One of the purposes of art in my view is to create a space for civic engagement. And this show is doing that.”
“This art is amazing,” said student Anthony Vasquez, “It is vibrant, and almost life like. The depth of the ‘Adoration of the MAGA Clan’ with all the figures.”
Terry Crewse, a member of Porterville Art Association said, “This art serves a dual purpose. It has a contemporary message, but shows us classic works of art at the same time.”
Looking at the piece of art based on Renaissance painter Albrecht Durer, called “Reimaging of Albrecht Durer’s Self Portrait” Crewse said, “This picture is sinister. It makes Trump look sinister. Even though Trump works hard to hide it.
It makes us laugh. Only because of all the pain he has caused.
This artwork is great. And better than I expected.”
Speaking about the show, Lyons said, “Jim invited me to have the show and we wanted it to be something that the students could relate to, when they are reading in class. We just started looking artwork that is based on social protest.”
Dave and Trish Divelbiss visited the show, and Dave said, “Pretty impressive.”
Walking around the small gallery and taking a picture or two with his cell phone, Tony Biasell was enjoying the art. He asked if Porterville was a conservative area, and said, “This is really impressive that the college would allow this to be shown in a public gallery.
The sense of humor and irony expressed by the artist. There is artistic excellence, but his art also relies on the viewer to take responsibility of the message, and not make judgement of the messenger (artist.)”
“Diran thinks outside the box, but not in a rebellious way,” said a friend, “He has a passion for detail. His interpretation of the art using the statements about what was appropriate for that time, and he used the Trump narrative and the drama that goes with it. It’s what it all represents.”
Dione Lyon, Diran’s stepmother, said, “Diran was an amazing painter. How he makes political statements with his art forms. It’s all laden with symbolism. He spends so much time on his artwork.”
Trish Divelbiss, Diran’s mother, said, “He spends so much time on his artwork, and nothing matters more to him, besides his family.”
Diran’s political remix videos have been featured in many national magazines, and other news publications. And examples have also been presented in national and international venues, including Cut Up at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, ROFLcon at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria.
The artist earned a bachelor in Sculpture and Painting at Fresno State and a master’s in New Genres and Painting at UC Santa Barbara, where he was a Regents Fellow.
The show runs until Thursday, December 5. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday from noon to 2 p.m., and 4 to 6. Contact the front desk for a free temporary parking permit when visiting the show.
Contact Jim Entz at 791-2257 with any questions.