Gallery exhibition shows women in abstract


Katherine Malling, Staff Writer

The Iona College Council on the Arts hosted a gallery talk reception for the exhibit “Woman in the Abstract: A Solo Exhibition” in the Brother Kenneth Chapman Gallery on Sept. 11.

Award-winning artist Steve Lyons spoke about his artwork and inspiration by discussing how women are multidimensional beings capable of courage, strength and nurturing. According to Lyons, his inspiration to start painting women in different abstracts stems from the differences in how men view women and how women view themselves in the art form.

“What triggered it for me was the real want to address femaleness as it’s interpreted by a guy, and I think it’s quite different,” Lyons said. “Men were always the subject of paintings going to war, and that sort of thing. Painters were allowed to paint women in a vast array of settings, whether they were royalty, sexual subjects, or others.”

Students, faculty and New Rochelle residents attended the art gallery. Senior Nina Purut shared her thoughts on Lyon’s artwork.

“I actually really like them because I liked seeing it from a man’s point of view,” Purut said. “My first thought wouldn’t be that men would picture women to be abstract, but…I kind of do understand men being clueless…of how women act, how we react and the way we do. I think he interprets it really well with us being abstract because we are really abstract creatures, if you will. I thought it was empowering because good, we are abstract, try to figure it out.”

Thomas Ruggio, assistant professor and director of visual arts, shared his take on how Lyon’s artwork reflects different forms of art throughout history.

“When I look around the gallery, I see a lot of art history,” Ruggio said. “I think the artist is certainly influenced by the abstract expressionists from the 1940s. I definitely see the influence of Pablo Picasso, and there are times he goes back a little further in time with tribal references or imagery.”

Madalyn Barbero Jordan, coordinator of arts programming, talked about the means of travel Lyon’s took to bring his art to Iona.

“Just the fact that he could pull together this exhibition based on something that Iona was doing was very cool I thought,” Jordan said. “Also just the fact that they [the artist] were so willing to have come from Cape Cod a total of three times to install, set up, and talk to the students. As a full-time working artist, he shows a commitment to the students. I think the exhibit was so beautiful, but I really loved how many students were here.”

The “Woman in the Abstract: A Solo Exhibition” will be held in the Brother Kenneth Chapman Gallery from Sept. 3 through Oct. 3.