Guy Lyman

Sonata in Three Colors, 2014
Charcoal,Pastel,Oil Paint,Spray Paint,Acrylic Paint,Graphite
30 x 24 in
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This was from a series of work in which I was channeling some of the things I have always loved about Cy Twombly along with qualities of a painting I saw in a local collection by a Cuban painter that I really admired and have thought about a lot since. Of course both share a graffiti quality; Twombly was the first to work with a sort of automatic drawing, beginning in the 1950s, and what he did opened up this new language for countless painters. You still see traces of it in so much contemporary art. Antoni Tapies has been a big influence on me as well, and you can see some of him in this work as well. I limited the color palette in this one as a sort of exercise in discipline, since it is easy to let color get away from you in a painting like this one. There are areas of three-dimensional paint that help flatten the picture plane and restrict the eye from reading depth into the painting; they function in the same way as Barnett Newman's 'zips' and Susan Rothenberg's lines across some of her horse images. I used a wide variety of media in these to get the effects I want, including even automobile spray paint.


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.