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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, December 7, 2003

Dreams bring about designs for painter

By Victoria Gail-White
Advertiser Art Critic

 •  'A Traveler Dreams': Angela Treat Lyon

11 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays

Through Dec. 19

Cafe Che Pasta


After a 13-year hiatus away from Hawai'i, Angela Treat Lyon's homecoming is celebrated in a solo exhibit at Cafe Che Pasta. Thirty-five haunting oil-on-canvas and archival art-board paintings fill the restaurant with images from her journeys — both real and dreamed.

The paintings come from two collections — 25 painted in Gore, New Zealand, and in New Mexico, and 10 painted in Hawai'i. There also are archival prints in the show.

Lyon is a storyteller painter. She revels in exploring the dimensions and connections between the conscious and subconscious. Often when she begins a painting she asks herself how she is feeling and consciously uses her emotions in her creative process.

Her palette sets a mood in her work, often in richly toned sapphire blues and emerald greens. The moon glows in many of her nightscapes, and figurative elements emerge from distorted perspectives, making her work haunting.

There is a harmonic dissonance at play, a kind of eerie music that gives her images linger power. It is similar to the way a dream lingers in your consciousness after you wake; it doesn't quite fit your reality and echoes throughout your waking hours.

"Many nights I'll wake up with designs in my head, all clamoring to come out at once," writes Lyons in her statement, "and I'll have to get up and draw furiously till they're out and happy."

"Source" is a painting of a girl seated in a chair by a curtained window. A flaming glow is emanating from her chest. "The light in this painting comes from three sources," says Lyon. "The radiant light comes from her core. The ambient light is light that is in the room. The reflected light from the window is the light from her glowing core."

While the Madonna-esque mother and child in "You Are My Only One" are bathed in blues, "Window," a painting of a woman propped against the side of a window ledge, is almost florescent in its lime-greenness.

Many of Lyon's paintings are surrealistic. "Back Back" is a painting of a reddish bird with a human head on a dark tree branch. In the background, a mountain and stylized clouds swirl.

While paintings like "Who Are We Really" appear sinister, they are not offensive but engaging. The various styles of Lyon's work — the rounded and smoothed edges, flowing lines of gradated color tones and repetitive elements — give these works an innocence and strength.

"The world needs artists," says Lyon. "Artists hold the images of what's possible — without that, we would get into a rut."

She is a prolific artist and has been drawing and painting since childhood. Lyon sculpts in bronze and stone, has made an animated film and published a book. Available on request is a small book (highly recommended) with stories about many of the paintings.