"The paintings are composed from film stills that, for their theatrical costume and anachronisms, cannot be mistaken for documents of reality, and the unreality of those images deepens as they are removed from narrative sequence, isolated, and made static in paint."
A N D R E W L Y M A N | | | biography
[lives & works – Massachusetts ::: b. 1991, Dallas, Texas]
Andrew Lyman was born in Dallas, TX in 1991, and graduated from Sewanee University in 2014, after which he moved to New Orleans. He now works toward his painting MFA at Boston University.
My paintings use established pictorial ideals associated with class, beauty, and taste as a framing device for capturing the modern prevalence of anxiety and social alienation. The paintings are composed from film stills that, for their theatrical costume and anachronisms, cannot be mistaken for documents of reality, and the unreality of those images deepens as they are removed from narrative sequence, isolated, and made static in paint. I choose imagery containing clear emotional cues that might retain a quick legibility, even after being removed from its original filmic context. The immediate read comes from that which is familiar, and what is familiar in the paintings works as window dressing to obscure something more unsettling in the back room. That is where the hand and the paint do their work. Since the image has been hollowed of its narrative implications, I remain open to material-guided improvisation while painting, which results in new elements being added or removed from the initial composition. I want to recreate the image, not reproduce it.
Starting with source imagery originally conceived by someone else creates a sense of separation between the paintings and their realization. I hope to avoid moralism in my paintings, and having some distance from the original imagery helps stave off what is heavy-handed or specifically personal. Stanley Cavell said “a painting is a world; a photograph is of the world.” Paintings are uniquely contained, while still offering the possibility of endless depth, and it is my belief that a painting performs its image anew each time it is looked at. By painting imagery suggestive of wealth, there is an imperviousness granted to the characters inside the painting. Wealth protects against circumstance. Because there is no sense of outside threat, whatever is wrong — and it does feel like something is wrong — must be within the image. In place of material poverty, there is suggested a poverty of the spirit. It is the difference between ‘threat’ and ‘danger.’ Danger is immediate, definable, and not terribly interesting. A threat is a feeling; it does not have to be rational, and it does not even need to be real. The characters in my paintings are meant to operate in suspended time, and I believe their heightened social standing allows them to exist apart from the world and its dangers, discrimination, and need. On the painted stage, these characters perform leisure, but are consumed and surrounded by angst.
2014 Sewanee: University of the South; Sewanee, TN
2023 Boston University School of Visual Arts; Boston, MA
EXHIBITION / PUBLICATION
2019 “New American Paintings” No. 142, South Issue
2021 “New American Paintings” No. 154, South Issue
2020 “Louisiana Contemporary,” Ogden Museum, New Orleans
2021 “Louisiana Contemporary,” Ogden Museum, New Orleans
2021 “No Dead Artists,” Jonathan Ferrara Gallery, New Orleans
2021 “Studio Visit Magazine,” Vol. 49 & 50