Shapeshifting: an essay tracing Dylan Lewis's progression towards the human form, by Laura Twiggs
Although initially recognised primarily as an "animalier" (or, "maker of animals"), Lewis's most influential inspiration has been neither the large cats nor animals. Instead, it has always been his rich experience of wilderness areas -- to him, timeless places that suggest original and inner freedoms and all that is wild and untamed. Unless one bears this in mind, his recent exploration of the human form seems to suggest a radical shift in the sculptor's focus. However, the shift in his subject matter is not a departure in any true sense, but should rather be seen as a natural progression of both his artistic journey and his personal philosophy. Through the following carefully selected series of non-chronological works and installations, it becomes possible to trace the threads underlying Lewis's progression from wilderness, to animal, to fragmented animal forms, to the human/animal interface embodied in his latest human figure work. Where does animalkind end and humankind begin? What of the wild and the primitive within? In exploring these tantalising enigmas, Lewis searches wilderness, myth and ancient belief systems for inspiration, meaning and answers.