A QUESTION most people don’t often think about is “what defines art?” Yarragon man David “Wombat” Lyons has rented exhibition space at the West Gippsland Arts Centre in Warragul to ask us just that.
Above: David 'Wombat' Lyons' exhibition is pretty sweet. Photo by William PJ Kulich.
This article was first published in the 10 October 2014 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen. Get your copy now for even more news and entertainment.
Wombat has created an exhibition consisting of photos of sugar being put into cups of tea. Called “Sugar Art,” the exhibition is on display at the Arts Centre’s foyer until 17 October.
The Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen asked Mr Lyons why he put on the exhibition.
“‘Why not?’ is probably the better question,” Mr Lyons said.
“I don’t think I have an answer for that one.
“A friend of mine , Daniel, and I were sitting in a café, and he was picking on me for [my artistic style].
“At the time there was the foodie trend where people were taking photos of food, and both of us felt that they were taking credit for other people’s work, because the chef would bring it out to the café and they would take a photo of it and put it on their Facebook.
“It was looking at that, but also, I do a painting style called mark making, which Daniel doesn’t really think is very much art, and so this is challenging those concepts of what makes art, what is art, how valuable a subject is to photography, and so on.
Above: Is this art? David ‘Wombat’ Lyons wants to know what you think. Photo by David “Wombat” Lyons.
“I have my own personal view on what is art, I think anything you declare to be art is art. I think creativity can be expressed in many different ways and I don’t think a photo has to be beautiful, I don’t think art has to be aesthetic, but they’re my answers.
People can have all sorts of different positions and part of this exhibition is finding out what people’s answers are.
“There are canvases which people can write on and add their opinion to, there are business cards people can write on and post back to me or leave here at the Arts Centre, and it’s a chance for people to, as they come in to go to the café or see a play, to see the works and ask themselves those questions.
“Whatever conclusion they come to is correct.”
Asked why he went out of his way to pay to put on the exhibition, Mr Lyons said: “I think if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it to the fullest extent. This started with the photos being taken, being put on Daniel’s Facebook page and him being asked the questions of ‘is it art?’ ‘Is this creative?’ ‘Is this better than my paintings?'”
“Then it went out publicly, so we have a Facebook page which is a collection of all these photos that anyone can see.”
“And putting this on as a public exhibition in a public space is the next step.”
Mr Lyons said the reaction to the idea of the exhibition had been good.
“As I was hanging it there was quite a lot of opinion, and what I found interesting was a lot of it was positive, which I wasn’t expecting.”
“I was expecting pitchforks and being run out of Warragul.”
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