John Lyon Paul
The act of walking has been described as a controlled fall in which we lean forward and out-of-balance in order to initiate motion. For me, making art is like walking. It involves leaning into the unknown, alive with anticipation, but with a sense of destination. My path has led me to work in both two and three dimensions, to employ a wide range of materials, and to originate unusual treatments.
Whereas my paintings offer us new territories to explore — places of unrestricted travel — my sculptures function as a kind of base camp or safe anchorage.
The paintings are full of contrasting textures, and often dynamically juxtapose natural and geometric forms. They seem to grow like crystals whose multiple layers alternately obscure and reveal. They are mysterious environments where we are free to move about as if out-of-body, drawn and released by the pulse of color and energy of line. Within them the word “abstraction” gives way to “freedom” as we surround ourselves with a vibration of color that is almost musical. They have places to rest and places to fly with a migration instinct that leads us back to ourselves.
The sculptures take their place among us in the world. They locate us within ourselves and can be understood as tools for centering, grounding, meditation, and healing. Involving varied materials and processes (carved wood, welded and hammered metals, cast paper or concrete), they are products of time, physical exertion and noise. When finished, the sculptures become solid and timeless as if magnetized by a silence that invites us to listen.
John Lyon Paul began to make sculptures at the same time that he began to practice meditation in the 1970s. These two practices, the receptive and the active, have informed his entire creative life and generated a large and innovative output of artworks. John is entirely self-taught and a master of many materials. He spends about equal time painting and sculpting in the solitude of the studio he built in the hills near Ithaca, in central New York.