Guy Lyman

Unshackle, 2008
House Paint,Acrylic Paint
36 x 36 in
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I had been making some very colorful paintings based on rings or circles that had been very well received, but my forms and brushstrokes began to tighten and feel a little restrained. So I decided to change both the forms and the strokes, and lose a lot of the color, and do something different for awhile. I stayed with simple forms as in general I am much more interested in surface and color anyway. I had been looking at the work of Philip Guston and a Gary Komarin, and their looseness and unselfconsciousness, and used them as a touchpoint to launch from. Also borrowed the concept of not painting out to the edges from Guston (Joan Mitchell and some others did this too), which renders the area of paint a sort of object separate from the canvas surface. I used house paint in addition to the usual artists acrylics in order to achieve the flatness I was looking for. Sometime you just can't beat cheap paint. I use professional, sturdy 1.5" stretchers that have a nice deep profile and presence on the wall.

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.