Saturday, 19 March 2016

A Sculptor's Drawings

Michael Lyons surrounded by his own drawings

Michael Lyons the sculptor has an exhibition of drawings on over at the Leeds University's Stanley and Audrey Burton Art Gallery. It's aways interesting to look at sculptor's drawings because no matter how gestural you might think they are, there is always an underlying sense of form, whether from a sense of mass or volume. 
These drawings of trees below are very interesting in terms of how observational drawings reveal the interests of the artist. 

Michael Lyons Tree Drawings

The first of these tree drawings looks at the tree as a solid mass, the one below begins to break the mass down into planes and the third drawing is more an investigation of the spaces between both shadows and tree trunks. 

Michael Lyons: Tree

This charcoal drawing is almost becoming a drawing for a piece of sculpture, the linear nature of each plane now being picked out and traced for its rhythmic potential. Compare the tree drawings above with the tree in landscape drawing below. 
Michael Lyons: Trees in a landscape

Lyons is much more interested this time in the way that landscape can be simplified into blocks of space, a more tectonic approach to drawing, you can almost feel how his experience of working with plates of metal have informed his thinking. These observational drawings can be compared with his drawings for sculpture, such as these below. 

Michael Lyons: Drawings for sculpture

The 'tectonic' plates that make up his sculptures are being thought about by using a combination of black cut paper shapes and charcoal, cutting into the paper and adding to the blackness, in effect 'carving' the forms into realisation, together with developing a linear rhythm within which they can have a presence. You might not be a sculptor, but I think you can appreciate these drawings as a forceful exploration of form and a reminder of how important this type of work was during the 1960s and 70s.
The Leeds University's Stanley and Audrey Burton Art Gallery is straight over the road from the Art College, just walk up the steps of the Parkinson Building and it's on the left once you enter the great hall. Go and see the original drawings, the tree drawings are not on show, but there is a wonderful display of his drawings for sculpture, they still hold their own and are a really good example of how to find a form by adjustment and searching for that 'rightness' of relationships. 

The exhibition co-incides with the installation of Lyons' sculpture 'Lenten Cover' in the grounds of the university. 

Michael Lyons: 'Lenten Cover' 

Compare Michael Lyons' drawings with the sculptor Kabir Hussain's see: 

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