Calista Lyon is an Australian artist and educator based in Columbus, Ohio. In response to ecological collapse, she uses an interdisciplinary, research-based practice to share ideas of intimacy, community, and interdependence. Using the image as a material anchor for memory, she investigates representations of presence and absence through the interconnections of power, history, and knowledge. Drawing from diverse epistemologies her research is influenced by vernacular forms of knowing via farmers, amateur botanists, and conservationists and by scientific thinking, including, theorists, historians, and ethnographers of science.
In previous works, Lyon has invited a farming community to join together in the act of walking to build a social fabric. She has amplified the voices of Ohio’s threatened species, sharing the sound portrait of the Silver-Haired Bat and the Massasauga Rattlesnake. Through site-specific projections, she shared the individual wave of the people of Green River, Utah. Using the portrait as an invitation, she prompted her rural farming community to share a conversation. Most recently, she has been sharing a story about the historical and contemporary structures of settler power affecting a local endangered orchid, the Crimson Spider Orchid (Caladenia concolor) in Australia.
Lyon’s work has been exhibited at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Luckman Gallery, Sydney Museum, Murray State University, and Murray Art Museum Albury, among others. Her performances have been presented at Oak Spring Garden Foundation, No Place Gallery, Epicenter, Automat, and DAAP Galleries. She has been the recipient of fellowships and residencies at Oak Spring Garden Foundation, The Ohio State University, Epicenter, and the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA.
Born in Nagambie, Australia, Calista Lyon received a Diploma of Art in Applied Photography from Melbourne Polytechnic. Relocating to the United States, she received a BFA in Studio Art from California State University, Los Angeles and an MFA in Photography from The Ohio State University.
Artist StatementFrom a recognition of the interconnections that shape all lives, how do we come to live by that which is invisible and unknowable to us? How might we attempt to understand the ways dominant narratives have shaped our lives and made illegible, erased, and disconnected the human from our ecological communities? This work draws from the work of conservationists and amateur botanists, specifically the work of Peter Branwhite, to look to the lives of others in an attempt to learn these histories and relearn our ecological relationships.