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Carol Dameron

metro art
By Megan Voeller


Above: Diran Lyons

Absolutions 2.5.3, 36" x 28",
tinted caulk on canvas by Diran Lyons

Take a look at Diran Lyons’ paintings and you may not be surprised to learn that his mother baked a lot of cakes while he was growing up. Gooey impastos in a palette of creamy pastels recall frosting—or saltwater taffy—with a voluptuousness that verges on sickeningly sweet.

During Lyons’ childhood in California, his mother supplemented a teaching career by baking cakes professionally. The artist pays homage to delicious memories of licking the bowl with paintings recently exhibited at the Ybor campus of Hillsborough Community College and Mirta’s Gallery and Coffee House in Tampa.

Using tinted window caulk to achieve texture and dimension, Lyons arranges oversized blobs in rows to create diagonals of color. His rainbow palette was inspired by the Hillsborough County Commission’s ban on recognition of gay pride. Fresh from the more liberal environment of California, Lyons was surprised by the ban.

The 28-year-old artist, who relocated to Tampa last August to join the faculty at HCC, will be the focus of a one-person show at Largo’s Gulf Coast Museum of Art in July. The show will feature installations and photographs of a recent performance with HCC students.

During the performance, Lyons and his students “made art—not war” in a water-gun shootout at Indian Rocks beach. The students, dressed in white clothes, filled their toy weapons with paint and turned each other into abstract expressionist canvases.

Lyons hopes that such events give his students a greater appreciation for the joy of performance and the importance of political free speech.

––Megan Voeller

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