Guy Lyman

Probe (Large), 2018
Mixed Media
36 x 48 in
$1,760
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The list of what goes into the making of these large and complex paintings includes everything from precious small-batch oil paints to common house paint, along with tar, acrylic paint, charcoal, pastel, lacquer and modeling paste. Influences include Robert Rauschenberg, Julian Schnabel and Terry Winters. But the most direct inspiration for this series was the show of Albert Oehlen's paintings at the Gagosian in 2012, arousing what one critic called “a sense of delight and play” that harkens back to Rauschenberg's combine paintings of the late 50's. This is part of a series that has been ongoing for several years, but the paintings up until now have all been sold privately, directly to collectors and designers, often before completion. There is no availability in the secondary (auction) market as of now. These paintings have been placed not only in contemporary settings, but surprisingly in rooms of fine antiques as well, creating a tension between the classic and the contemporary -- like the abstract works you sometimes see in uber-traditional dining and living rooms of famous collectors. This is a large painting that will make its present felt throughout an entire room. More paintings in this series will be posted over the next few weeks as they are photographed. “These paintings are a refreshing departure from the current abstract art world’s seemingly endless parade of passages of color with Twomblyish drawing providing form, a style that is easily mimicked and has become a sort of “safe” style. There are confident decisions in these paintings appearing as commitments of strongly delineated forms that give the work a visceral, confident and playful soul, increasingly missing from contemporary expressionist abstraction. They are the paintings of a real painter rather than a decorative artist.” ArtSeen, 2018.


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.