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Mike Lyon

06.01.24 - 07.07.24



Foundry Vineyards is thrilled to share our newest art exhibition in collaboration with the Mokuhanga Project Space, featuring the pioneering works of Kansas City-based artist Mike Lyon. The exhibition will be on view from June 1, 2024, and run through July 7, 2024, showcasing a collection of Lyon's innovative mokuhanga (Japanese woodblock prints) that blend traditional techniques with modern technology.

Mike Lyon is recognized for his unique approach to printmaking, which integrates his extensive knowledge of computer technology with the ancient art of mokuhanga. This exhibition highlights the evolution of Lyon's work, from his early hand-carved prints to his latest digitally abstracted, machine-carved pieces. Lyon's process is a fusion of traditional craftsmanship and cutting-edge technology, where he programs computers and builds machinery to manipulate art-making tools, creating intricate and precise prints.

Lyon's work often portrays faces, figures, and botanicals, with each piece meticulously planned and executed through a calculated series of marks, lines, and brush strokes. His childhood interest in Japanese art and culture is evident in his collection of Japanese ukiyo-e prints, and his formal art studies under Hiroki Morinoue and Hidehiko Goto further honed his skills in mokuhanga.

The exhibition will provide a broad look at the progression of Lyon's work, starting with his earlier hand-carved prints in a "posterized style," followed by some of his initial machine-carved prints. The show transitions from more realistic photographic images to the digitally abstracted complex images he creates today, illustrating how technology has transformed his depiction of figures.


Mike Lyon is a full-time artist in Kansas City, Missouri. Lyon received his BA from the University of Pennsylvania, his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and studied moku-hanga (Japanese woodblock printmaking) under Hiroki Morinoue and Hidehiko Goto. He currently sits on the boards of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, Colorado, the Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the International Mokuhanga Association in Tokyo, Japan.

Lyon is a pioneering figure in the field of post-digital printmaking. In his work as a printmaker, Lyon combines his knowledge of technology, cultivated during his 13 years as a computer hardware and software developer, with his formal art study. His invention of award-winning computerized order-filling systems for Tupperware and others is an integral part of his printmaking methods today. He has adapted the computer-controlled router to carve blocks, apply paint to canvas, and put pen to paper. Equally relevant in his work is Lyon’s childhood interest in Japanese art and culture, which is reflected in his collection of Japanese ukiyo-e

" My work is a long series of experiments in ways to communicate image through an unusual kind of mark-making. My process is complex and analytical and involves programming computers and building machinery to manipulate traditional art-making tools, materials, and imagery using non-traditional methods. I’m looking to the old while inventing (sometimes re-inventing) the new. I typically portray the face, figure, or botanicals like grass or leaves. The creative work is almost entirely conceptual, occurring inside my head. Because every mark, line, or brush stroke is calculated in advance, I don’t get to see the results until the work is complete."

Lyon’s work and process are featured in Paul Cantanese’s and Angela Geary’s Post-Digital Printmaking: CNC, Traditional and Hybrid Techniques (2012, Sylvie Covey’s Modern Printmaking: A Guide to Traditional and Digital Techniques (2016), April Vollmer’s Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Art of Mokuhanga (2015), Barbara Thompson’s The International Block Print Renaissance: Then and Now (2021) and others.

His work is in the permanent collections of Nelson Atkins Museum of Art; Daum Museum of Contemporary Art; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art; Miriana Kistler Beach Museum of Art; Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art; Springfield Art Museum; Spencer Museum of Art; Art Museum at the University of Kentucky; New York Public Library, Wichita Art Museum.

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