Rob Lyon's harmonic landscapes on view at Adams and Ollman

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Rob Lyon's harmonic landscapes on view at Adams and Ollman
Rob Lyon, Your rupture, my rapture, 2021. Oil on linen, 9 7/8h x 11 13/16w in. 25.08h x 30w cm.

PORTLAND, ORE.- Adams and Ollman is presenting paintings by Rob Lyon (b. 1982, Lancashire, UK; lives and works in West Sussex, UK) for his first solo exhibition at the gallery. Since 2014, Lyon has been painting the unique landscape of the South Downs in England where he grew up and later returned to raise his family. Inspired by long walks amongst its distinct ridges of wooded rolling hills and valleys, dramatic skies, and sweeping vistas, the artist works methodically and meditatively to capture and inscribe the unique spirits encountered there.

Common motifs of birds, hills, trees, and other foliage, depicted in expressive colors, strong lines, and patterned brushstrokes, assemble on the canvas in simplified forms, repeating and reassembling, held in harmonic tension as though briefly caught between moments of entropic flux. Various combinations of dots, lines, and shapes create a graphic language that is sometimes consistent, but often not. A field of grey with white lines in one scene fills a sky in the next, while treetops merge into hills and horizon lines bleed into the landscape.

In Sublimation in Blue, multiple shifts in perspective create a quilt-like landscape with a central blue figure that reads both as a body of water bisected by a bridge of land and a butterfly casting an oversized shadow on the ground below. In Dawn Drone, treetops shaped like witches’ hats meet to form a point on the horizon, or perhaps blades on a pinwheel. These ambiguous, shapeshifting environments propose an animistic, interconnected world that is at once mysterious and revelatory, with each work seemingly in pursuit of some new understanding.

The works on display were made primarily during the period following the artist’s father’s death when he and his family would take long meandering walks through the hills in an attempt to re-forge new relationships with the land and one another. Importantly, these walks were motivated by a compulsion to seek out the familiar, but new; or, in the artist’s words, “proximal, but unburdened by ghosts.” In exploring grief and loss through an evolving relationship to the landscape, Lyon is able to meditate on that which is beyond the scope of human understanding—time, death, the vastness of the natural world—constructing a complex world of visual mythmaking that tells more than just stories of the past, present, or future, but of fundamental relationships that mutually construct one another perpetually.

Rob Lyon (b. UK, 1982) is a self-taught painter who lives and works in West Sussex, UK. This is his first exhibition at Adams and Ollman.

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