(New Orleans, LA) FERRARA SHOWMAN GALLERY is pleased to announce the debut solo exhibition of Philadelphia-based painter Andrew Lyman entitled No New Messaages. The artist’s work first appeared at the gallery in the 25th Annual NO DEAD ARTISTS: International Juried Exhibition in 2021 just before he embarked on a Master of Fine Arts at Boston University. Having just completed his degree, Lyman unveils in this exhibition nine new oil paintings: five large-scale works on canvas and four studies on paper. The moody palette and unsettling narratives therein serve both as a commentary on painting in the digital age, as well as the temporality and fragility of the human condition.
Lyman expounds on this most recent suite of paintings . . .
My paintings use established pictorial ideals associated with class, beauty, and artifice 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. 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. What results are paintings that are rich in detail and suggestion, that oscillate between deep feeling and vacuousness. On the surface, my work appears to be generous toward prolonged looking, but all the while there is an uneasy sense that something is being crucially withheld.
Starting with source imagery originally conceived by someone else creates a sense of separation between the paintings and their realization. A painting made by looking at a photograph is easily distinguishable from a life-painting, but the difference is more felt than seen, and it is felt as a lack of truthfulness. I want to exploit that lack in my paintings, coupling it with cinematic imagery that already forefronts theatrical artifice. Marshall McLuhan said “the medium is the message.” I think that at the heart of the photographic medium is something which alienates the viewer, and that the hidden message beneath almost every video or photograph is one of bereavement. Photography shows us moments where intervention is impossible because the moment shown has already gone. Roland Barthes referred to people in photographs as “specters.” An average person now exists within a vortex of digital imagery, delivering us a vague and endless IV drip of loss. It should be no surprise that there is an epidemic of anxiety.
What then is the hidden message at the heart of painting? Having long since lost its most basic utility to photography, painting has become an anachronism, yet it still feels so vital. I think its underlying message is one of faith, not in the religious sense, but in the humanistic sense. People paint because it is a fundamentally human activity, and it connects us with our past. In my paintings, the hidden precepts underpinning photography and painting wrestle for the final word. Some of my paintings never surpass their photographic origins, but in others the paint medium prevails, and those paintings carry a heartbeat. Usually though, there is no clear hierarchy between the two media, and the back and forth creates tension. In the beginning, I never quite know what the outcome will be. I merely set the parameters, and start painting.
ANDREW LYMAN was born in Dallas, TX in 1991, where he spent his first eighteen years. He drew a lot growing up, favoring the sense of order and control it gave him, and did not begin painting in earnest until his twenties, when he lived in New Orleans. Now, he expects it would take multiple lifetimes for him to cease being surprised and delighted by making oil paintings.
His artistic practice is largely inspired by other people’s creative expression, which he often references in his own paintings, and his main artery of work has always been figurative. Among the many artists who inspire him are the painters Edvard Munch, Matisse, Bob Thompson, Markus Lupertz, Peter Doig, Nicole Eisenman, Peter Paul Rubens, and Luc Tuymans. The writers JRR Tolkien and WG Sebald are constantly present. Movies provide much of the imagery from which Lyman’s paintings embark, and the filmmakers RW Fassbinder, David Lynch, Sergio Leone, and Ozu are favorites.
He earned his MFA in Painting from Boston University in 2023, and he hopes to paint and teach painting. Lyman’s paintings have been exhibited in New Orleans, Boston, and New York. He is currently living in Philadelphia.
The exhibition will be on view from 21 February through 6 April 2024 with an opening reception on Saturday 2 March and a closing reception on Saturday 6 April coinciding with the Arts District of New Orleans’ (ADNO) monthly First Saturday Gallery Openings from 5 – 9 PM.
For more information, press or sales inquiries please contact Gallery Director Matthew Weldon Showman at 504.343.6827 or email@example.com. Please join the conversation with FSG on Facebook (@FerraraShowmanGallery), Twitter (@FerraraShowman), and Instagram (@JonathanFerraraGallery) via the hashtags: #AndrewLyman, #FerraraShowmanGallery, and #ArtsDistrictNewOrleans.