Guy Lyman

Angelique in Narbonne, 2010
Charcoal,Pastel,Oil Paint,Acrylic Paint
40 x 40 in
These relatively large new paintings were a departure for me, in that I moved away from a more decorative and intensely colored palette and concentrated on subtle shifts in hues in the negative space, which is what I am most interested in. The forms are in a way complementary and subsidiary to the negative space, as opposed to vice versa. Here the negative space is dominated by some fairly deep shades of blue, which causes it to push forward rather than recede and creates tension vs. the usual push-pull. I have always been a big fan of Julian Schnabel and Donald Baechler, and before painting this had been introduced to the work of Gary Komarin and found it hugely inspirational. I wasn't entirely surprised to find that one of his mentors was Philip Guston, another painter I have always really admired (both in his expressionistic and "cartoon" periods). All of these painters have mastered a primitive, almost childish quality of line that is criminally difficult to achieve. These have been a joy to paint, but an awful lot harder than they appear. You have to go back in over and over to get where you need to be.

I have been painting for about 30 years, since before I was a dealer. I always was and remain most drawn to so-called “painterly” painters, whose interest is less in the formal aspects of painting than in the paint itself, and signs of the artist’s hand in its application. Initially I was drawn to paintings from the magical period between New York Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, by artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Jim Dine and Cy Twombly. In the Eighties, it was New York neo-Expressionists such as Julian Schnabel, Terry Winters and Donald Baechler. As you can see, in the past few years my paintings have become more formal, but you can still see a lot of the hand in them. I grew up in New Orleans, lived in various places in the U.S. and Europe, then returned to "the Big Easy" to open my Magazine Street gallery, which I sold in 2017 before moving my art business entirely online. I still enjoy meeting fellow art collectors and painters when they visit New Orleans.