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Cheetah, Chasing Buck, Life-size
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Cheetah, Chasing Buck, Life-size


Cheetah, Chasing Buck, Life-size
'Dylan Lewis AP2 S239', 'SCS Foundry' stamp
98½ in. (250 cm.) high; 59 in. (150 cm.) wide; 90½ in. (230 cm.) long
The edition of this cast is AP2, of an edition of 8
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Post Lot Text

Dylan Lewis turned his attention to the human figure in 2006, after over a decade of focusing on animal forms. The change in subject matter is not the radical shift it may appear to be, as Lewis's primary inspiration and motivation remains the same. However, the wilderness landscapes inhabited by the wild animal have been expanded now to incorporate the growing fascination of the artist with the notion of internal and external wilderness areas that he sees as vital to our humanity, and he has launched himself into a passionate exploration of movement in both male and female figures: a dynamic integration of human, animal and earth, held together by ancient animistic belief, myth and ritual.
Lewis's human forms conjure the shaman, the conveyor of disembodied truths, yet are firmly grounded in powerful physicality. They are in direct association with the animal spirit and life force embodied in the animal skull masks they wear, the enormous wings they carry, or the claws that replace human hands. A large number of the new figures wear masks adorned with animal horns, and are thus reminiscent of the archetypal horned god found in several ancient mythologies including Celtic and Hindu, the most well-known of which must be the Greek, where he is Pan. But that is not to say that Lewis is here faithfully recreating only mythical characters. Instead, he invests a mortal humankind with those qualities evoked by the horned god archetype: closely associated to wild animals, sexuality and virility.
Lewis's humans lose restrictive human identities in ritualised and exuberant bodily movements that demonstrate their subservience to the personage of their animal aspects, and in so doing, they temporarily become more than "human". In becoming one with their animal masks and features, Lewis's new figures fleetingly reconnect with that which humankind lost in expelling our wild nature from our essential selves in order to define ourselves as "human". The transformation is a connection with and celebration of the vital energy, life force and spirit of all that is truly "wild". There is, Lewis's work suggests, a great nobility and even joy to be found in striving to connect with our wild past and origins both internally and externally: to attempt to reconnect with the abandoned Pan within, even if that end remains forever elusive.
Lewis's human figures represent an interface between animal and human rather than simple humankind, and continue to speak of wilderness. They are an attempt to explore visually the integration of all that is wild and free and to reconcile the ideas of inner and outer wilderness, as well as being vehicles through which to probe the fundamental importance of wilderness to the human psyche. These are ideas that Lewis intends to continue exploring in the foreseeable future.

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Lot Essay

The tension between predator and prey has been a constant theme in Lewis's work, allowing him to explore great variations of scale and power. This is the last of his series of animal sculptures, before he turned his attention to the human figure. Conceived in the round, it is the culmination of his ability to capture the dynamism and drama of the natural moment, and Lewis's on-going interest in the energetic swirls found in nature can be seen even in the spiral form of its composition.

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