John Lyon Paul

 

Biography

John Lyon Paul began to make artworks in the 1970s, at the same time that he began to practice meditation. These two practices, the receptive and the active, have anchored and informed his creative life and generated a large and innovative output of artworks. Entirely self-taught, and the master of many materials, John spends about equal time painting and sculpting in the solitude of the studio he built in the Finger Lakes area of upstate New York. He work has been in solo shows at the Arnot Art Museum and at many galleries, has been in several group juried and invitational shows, and is in private collections throughout the United States. In 2010 John was chosen as the Featured Artist of the “Conflict and Visual Culture Project” at the Solomon Asch Center, and in 2011 he was selected for the NYFA MARK professional artist program.

John’s first works were figurative sculptures, directly carved in wood or hammered in metal. In 1982, John took a vow of silence during the seven months it took to make the sculpture, Vow of Silence. Since that time his sculptures have taken on new, and more abstract forms needed to embrace the areas of his explorations. Recent sculptures can be thought of as “tools for releasing, centering, and healing.” Among these are two, large, interactive sculptures, Many Thousands Gone, and Nagasaki Prayerwheel. Videos about these two works as well as images of other sculptures and paintings can be seen on his website: www.johnlyonpaul.com

In the late 1980s John had a visionary dream in which he found himself holding a Mason jar. Curious as to its contents, he unscrewed the lid only to release a flood of colorful butterflies. The next day he began to paint. Since that time he has painted several hundred works.

John’s use of color and line with their pulse, vibration, and rhythms clearly emerges from the kinesthetic awareness evident in his sculptures. But unlike his sculptures, which engage us in our world, his paintings draw us into theirs. A journey through the 100-painting Pilgrimage series (1996- 2001) unfolds like a new visual language. Subsequent series (Oracle, Mirage, Templates for Another Life) lead to his Meditation Shawls (2003-9). Here the viewer is asked to use each “shawl” as an entry point to meditation, as well as to imaginatively wrap her/his body in that shawl during the inner journey.

Since 2010, John has been working on a series of Studies: The Light Fantastic. Now numbering over one hundred paintings, these innovative works are painted “in reverse” on the back of plate glass or clear Mylar. John says that these radiant paintings “grow like crystals.” They act like lenses into mysterious environments which the viewer can explore, drawn and released by the pulse of color and energy of line. Within these paintings the word “abstraction” gives way to “freedom” as we surround ourselves with a vibration that is almost musical. The multi-textured results are extraordinarily fresh, immediate, and luminescent.

 
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