Venue: Oriel Gallery
31 August - 12 October 2019
Reverie and Rectitude: drawings 2012 – 2019
The drawings in this show span the period 2012-2019. They include the ‘Rosenkavelier’ series which were shown at the 2019 National Eisteddfod at Llanrwrst. Others have a military theme, one inspired by a childhood sketch by Marcel Duchamp, another from the experience of seeing RAF Chinook helicopters flying very low along a flight path along the river Wye. My 2015 ‘Ghost Gear’, based on Turner’s oil-sketch ‘Seascape with Burning Hulk’ 1828 reflects the muddy waters of the river Wye and could have been tailor-made for the long stretch of the Oriel Gallery.
Of the new works, one series is drawn almost entirely from his rowing boat and made from holiday sketches in Sicily in 2016 when he was struck by the jagged profile of the sea defences at Syracuse. These protrude above the clear water, looking incongruous against the proportional elegance of the city’s architecture. Not knowing whether this protection was from the action of the sea or from military invasion, certainly the allied landing in Europe in WW2 started here and these ungainly concrete structures look somehow related to this period.
The second of the new projects stems from an on-site sketch made in France at Mametz Wood on the Somme when he went to see the WW1 battlefields in 2017. Mametz Wood was the battle involving the 23rd Regiment of Foot, The Royal Welch Regiment in July 1916. The artist and poet David Jones was wounded there and subsequently wrote an account of the battle in his book-length poem ‘In Parenthesis’.
‘It was raining when I went to Mametz Wood and so I drew through the bleary windscreen of my car. Jones describes the battle in terms of a mystical communion with Wales’ deep historical past but he also displays a close attention to the sudden incidences of colour around him. This creates a different sense of order and awareness and I have begun to inflect my own drawings with the colours from Jones’ descriptions.’
Kieran Lyons lives in Chepstow and trained at Bath Academy of Art and Yale University. Since then his career has been through installation and performance art and throughout he has maintained a commitment to drawing, which since 2010 has become his main course of action.