Liséa Lyons

Print print



Born: 1971, St. Petersburg, FL


2001 San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA
Master of Fine Arts
1997-99 California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland CA
1992 Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Bachelor of Arts, English Literature

Selected Solo Exhibitions:

2013 "Locket," Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
2012 "Disbelief," Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco, CA
2009 "Lineage," Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco, CA
2007 "Something Borrowed," Heather Marx Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2005 "Haunted," The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY
2004 "Closer," Heather Marx Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2002 "New Work," Heather Marx Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2001 Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA (also 2000)
1998 Isabel Percy West Gallery, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, CA

Selected Group Exhibitions:

2012 "Women: By, Of, About," Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
2011 "Sea Change: The 10th Anniversary Exhibition," Marx & Zavattero, San Francisco, CA
2010 "All That Glitters," Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
"Click!: An Exhibition of Young Photographers," Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York, NY
2006 "See Jane Run," Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA
2004 -scope Miami, TownHouse Hotel, Miami Beach, FL
2003 -scope Miami, TownHouse Hotel, Miami Beach, FL
-scope New York, Dylan Hotel, New York, NY
2002 "Register This," Z Space Gallery, San Francisco, CA
"Behind Closed Doors," The Works Gallery, San Jose, CA
2001 "The Inaugural Exhibition," Heather Marx Gallery, San Francisco, CA
"Best of Show," Gallery 1401, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA
"Young Portfolio Acquisitions 2000," Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Kiyosato, Japan
"Master of Fine Arts Commencement Show," Fort Mason Center,
San Francisco, CA
2000 Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco, CA
University of Texas, Pan American, Edinburgh, TX
Wayland Baptist University, Plainview, TX
"Juried Annual Exhibition," Pro Arts, Oakland, CA; Larry Rinder, Juror
1999 "Tender," Juried Group Exhibition, Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco, CA
"A Vision Honored," Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA;
Linda Connor, Juror
"'New American Talent' The Fourteenth Exhibition," Jones Center for Contemporary Art, Austin, TX
J. Wayne Stark University Center Galleries, Texas A&M University,
College Station, TX
1998 "Rockies to the Pacific," Site Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Cavallo Point Artist Program, Sausalito, CA
Third Place, The Photo Review annual juried show, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Selected Collections:
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
Permanent Collection, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, Woodstock, NY
Adobe Systems Inc., San Jose, CA
Permanent Collection, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Kiyosato, Japan
J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Art Collection, San Francisco, CA and New York, NY

Selected Bibliography:

2012 Ko, Lily, "Gallery Openings: Jared Sussman, Lisea Lyons, Amanda Cruz & Rachel Eve," SF Station: Spectrum Arts & Culture Blog, February 27
2009 Van Proyen, Mark, "Liséa Lyons: Marx & Zavattero," Art in America, October, p. 177
Eisenhart, Mary, "Don’t Miss: Lineage," San Francisco Chronicle (96 Hours section), June 18, p. 12
2008 Fort Baker Retreat Group LLC, Lisea Lyons (artist book to accompany work on view in the Cavallo Point Artist Program, with essay by Thom Sempere)
2007 Farr, Kristin, "Lisea Lyons: Something Borrowed," KQED Arts & Culture Online, April 23
Martini, Tiffany, "These are not your ordinary family photos," San Francisco Examiner,
April 10, p. 19
Nataraj, Nirmala, "A Girl's Life," SF Weekly (Night & Day section), April 4, p. 20
2006 Nataraj, Nirmala, "'See Jane Run' at Bedford Gallery," Artweek, July/August,
p. 15-16
2002 Cash, Stephanie, "Report from San Francisco: Surviving and Thriving,"
Art in America, No. 11, November, p. 67
Keats, Jonathon, "Lisea Lyons," ARTnews, September, Vol. 101, No. 8, p. 160
Berry, Colin, " 'The Inaugural Exhibition' at Heather Marx Gallery," Artweek, February, Volume 33, Issue 1, p. 25
Fischer, Jack, "Documentary Photographers Find Intimate Moments of Truth," San Jose Mercury News, February 12, p. 1F, 3F
Print print

Press Release


MARCH 1 - APRIL 7, 2012

Opening Reception for the Artist: Thursday March 1, 5:30 – 7:30 PM

For more information, contact Steve Zavattero
Phone: 415.627.9111/e-mail:

Marking her fifth solo exhibition with Marx & Zavattero, New York photographer Liséa Lyons debuts a new series of chromogenic, silver gelatin, and archival pigment prints in Disbelief, March 1 – April 7, 2012. Lyons’ current body of work continues to explore her very personal, single-mother relationship with her now nearly adult-age daughter Ramona, as she touches on themes of beauty, form, nature, and the unavoidable truths of change and imminent mother-daughter separation.

A unique element to this exhibition – which for the first time will mix Lyons’ gorgeous, rich color with stark black and white imagery – will be the curated combination of new work with never-before-shown pieces from the early 2000s, creating anecdotal glimpses into past memories. These early works suggest the re-opening of unfinished life chapters, or perhaps chapters that best remain closed. Lyons’ unique and beautiful focus on the feminine form also manifests itself in striking self-portrait compositions providing a glimpse into the artist’s mysterious, vulnerable future; a seemingly discomfiting future lacking the day-to-day interaction and tangible chances to protect her daughter. Lyons is also placing more emphasis on solitary landscapes, suggesting that fleeting moments found in nature can capture human emotions just as easily as a facial expression.

In his October, 2009 Art in America review of her previous solo exhibition at Marx & Zavattero, critic Mark Van Proyen writes, “(Lyons’) works explore the volatile fragility of early adolescence with a sensitive and sympathetic eye, and they are engaging for that reason. But their formal deftness is also remarkable, as is the richness of their pictorial nuance, which amplifies the psychological interest of the works without drifting into melodrama.”

Lyons’ work will be featured in the upcoming book Identities Now: Contemporary Portrait Photography published by Peter Hay Halpert Fine Art. She is a featured artist in the Cavallo Point Artist Program, Sausalito, CA and the subject of a recent monograph published by Fort Baker Retreat Group LLC. She has exhibited on both coasts, most recently in Sea Change: The 10th Anniversary Exhibition, Marx & Zavattero; both All That Glitters and Click!: An Exhibition of Young Photographers, Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York; the solo exhibition Haunted at The Center for Photography, Woodstock, NY; See Jane Run at The Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA; and at the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Kiyosato, Japan. Lyons’ work is in the permanent collection of the J.P. Morgan Chase Art Collection, San Francisco and New York; Adobe Systems, San José, CA; the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts, Kiyosato, Japan; and The Center for Photography, Woodstock NY. Her work has been reviewed and featured in Art in America, ARTnews, the San Jose Mercury News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, the SF Weekly, and Artweek. Lyons received her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2001, and studied with the late Larry Sultan at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland in the late 1990s.

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. The significance of these slivers of time is just as obscure as the remembered scenario itself. It seems odd and almost unsettling that you can still see the colors and feel the temperature of what was just another day.

I used to feel certain I was documenting something - a time or place in my daughter's life; it was actually my connection to her world. I felt consumed by thoughts about our domestic space and my role within it. As time passed and I abruptly changed the familiar landscape there was a new twist. In her world I began to see my memories, my ordinary days, fears, and dark spaces. Now the stories overlap and fold into one another. The picture becomes a window, a mirror, and can root itself in the place where those fragments and slivers live.

  • For inquiries, please email Heather Marx Art Advisory at H[at]HMxAA[dot]com