• Dylan Lewis Studio and Sculpture Garden

    Eight years in the making, the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden is a place of expansive vistas, scents and the sounds of nature, with tranquil groves, hidden paths and lush indigenous vegetation. The project began serendipitously in 2009 when Lewis hired an excavator on a whim and began shaping the contours of what would become the seven-hectare sculpture garden. Today, the artist continues to explore themes integral to his work in this serene landscape on the slopes of the Stellenbosch Mountain looking out over vineyards towards the ocean. Here, the notion of the untamed wilderness within the human psyche is expressed both in the sculptures and their positioning in the landscape.

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    Over 60 sculptures constituting a comprehensive record of Lewis’s full artistic development thus far have been carefully placed in harmony with the landscape: the human form, shamanic figures, monumental abstracted fragments and his iconic great cats. Along four kilometres of paths, one is led on a journey through different ‘rooms’, from the heather hills dominated by earthy male images to the meditative poplar grove with its sensual female torsos.

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    Dylan Lewis is a South African artist who has emerged as one of the foremost figures in contemporary sculpture. Lewis’s work features in private collections throughout the UK, Continental Europe, United States and Australia, and he is one of only a handful of living artists to have had more than one solo auction with Christie’s in London. 

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    Located in Stellenbosch near Cape Town, Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden is a heaven of nature and art. Every centimeter has been beautifully landscaped and all sculptures have been placed in the garden by the artist himself, after months of fine adjustments. Art50.net has visited and photographed the sculpture garden in a walkabout hosted artist Dylan Lewis (*)

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    Lewis’s primary inspiration is wilderness. At one level his bronze sculptures celebrate the power and movement of Africa’s life forms; at another the textures he creates speak of the continent’s primaeval, rugged landscapes and their ancient rhythms. He works intensively from life, filling books with sketches, notes and drawings. By referring to these in the solitude of his studio, he is able to reproduce the subject’s physical form while exploring their more abstract, deeper meaning.

    Dylan Lewis was born in Johannesburg in 1964. He is the son of the late well-known sculptor Robin Lewis and comes from an artistic family. His great-grandfather, Thomas Rayfon Lewis, and grandmother, Renee Hughes, were accomplished artists and his mother Valerie and brother Tim are practising artists today. He completed his schooling at S.A.C.S. in Cape Town after which he studied art at the Cape Technikon in 1982. Dylan has always had a deep and abiding interest in the natural world. He worked at the Rondevlei Nature Reserve, Cape Town, for four years (1985-89). There, amongst other things, he painted the backdrop of the diorama in the Field Museum, illustrated a field guide and worked as a taxidermist. His skill in taxidermy has greatly benefited his painting and sculpting.

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    In 1989 he studied painting at the Ruth Prowse School of Art under Ryno Swart and began exploring sculpture. In 1990 he spent a year painting and sculpting in the Timbavati Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga. In July 1991 he presented to the AGM of Timbavati two sculptures of Rhino, casting a series of thirty editions available to the landowners of the reserve. He was also commissioned by the reserve to paint their famous white lioness.

    Later that year Dylan travelled to Europe studying art in its museums. In 1994 he moved to a farm outside Stellenbosch, where he has built his studio and bronze foundry. He casts his own sculptures in bronze. In 1995 he visited Codova in Alaska to represent South Africa at the “Artists for Nature Foundation Expedition”.

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    Working within a strict self-imposed discipline of direct observation of nature, he immerses himself in his subject, sketching and sculpting ceaselessly. It is this combination of love, truth and hard work that give shape to his powerful evocations of animal form and animal force. Seeking out the presence of the live animal Dylan says, “I sketch continuously, sometimes for weeks, until an understanding of form and movement emerges, then I sculpt small compositional studies followed by the final sculpture. Under the surface often lie fully sculpted skeleton and muscle studies. The discipline gives me the freedom to concentrate on the abstract sculptural aspects of the work while retaining the animal form.”

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    Dylan has ventured into exploring figurative works in the last few years, achieving the same success as with his much-loved cats. Where does animal-kind end and humankind begin? What of the wild and primitive within? In exploring these tantalising enigmas, Lewis searches wilderness, myth and ancient belief systems for inspiration, meaning and answers.

    (*)  organized by CultureConnect. 

    Photos: Güliz Özbek Collini

  • 50 Public Sculptures

    As Art50.net, we decided to start 50-item lists about art. In 50 PUBLIC SCULPTURES we bring together inspiring public sculptures from all over the world.

    As we reach the 50th items on our lists we welcome all suggestions and photographs from the places you have been. You can send them to us on info@art50.net. We are hoping to reach the 50th items very soon with suggestions from our followers. Until then, enjoy reading our lists!

  • PANORAMIC AWARENESS PAVILION Olafur Eliasson

    Des Moines, Iowa, USA

     

    Danish born, world famous artist Olafur Eliasson’s work exhibited at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park in the city of Des Moines is composed of 23 glass panels arranged in a circle around a beam of light.

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    At the center of each semi-transparent panel stands a transparent, colored area. The sculpture becomes a self-reflexive meditation chamber for the viewers who step inside and a landscape compass for those viewers outside, allowing them to  understand their own position and direction of movement thanks to the color transitions.

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  • THE SILENT EVOLUTION Jason deCaires Taylor

    Cancun, Mexico

    Defining his works as “living installations”, the underwater sculpture artist Jason deCaires Taylor designed an “artificial reef” in Mexico mimicking coral reefs, on which the local species could attach themselves; the sculpture weighing 120 tons and based on 400 real Mexicans, not only aimed at presenting a truthful section of the indigenous society but also at supporting the reef ecosystem and building surfaces for species to thrive on. Also a scuba diver and a photographer, the artist finds it important to give back to nature. It makes him happy to see the work covered in various forms of life three years after its construction.

     

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  • TIME AND SPACE Andrew Rogers

    Cappadocia

    The “Time and Space” sculpture park by the Australian artist Andrew Rogers is composed of twelve sculptures visible from the sky, and is the biggest land art collection in the world. With the project realized in collaboration with the local community aims at building a stronger connection between them and the region’s cultural heritage. In addition to Turkey, Rogers realizes land art projects all over the world, from Nepal to Chile, from Antarctica to Iceland.

  • THE KELPIES Andy Scott

    Forth and Clyde Canal, Scotland

    The Kelpies, two horse heads  looking at the Forth and Clyde Canal in Scotland from 30 meters above, are a tribute to the horses, a very important element in the culture and industry of the region. The work takes its name from mythological creatures as strong as 100 horses combined, and each horse is composed of 300 tones of steel. Also used as a venue for various light art and projection performances, the Kelpies is the biggest artwork based in Scotland and the biggest horse sculpture in the world.

     

     

     

  • FLAMINGO Alexander Calder

    Chicago, USA

    The artwork by one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Alexander Calder, is composed of painted steel. Although weighing 50 tones, it appears weightless and ready to fly away any moment. Calder takes the nomad bird flamingo away from its natural habitat and installs it in the middle of Chicago’s urban panorama covered in cement and steel, as if warning us not to forget about our connection with nature.

     

  • SPOONBRIDGE & CHERRY, Claes Oldenburg, Coosje van Bruggen

    Minneapolis, USA

    As part of the Walker Art Center Collection and on view at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the work is a collaboration between the famous Pop Art icon Claes Oldenburg who brings daily objects to gigantic sizes, and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen. The spoon is an item often encountered in Oldenburg’s works: he was inspired by a decorative object he acquired in 1962, composed of a spoon standing on top of fake chocolate. Van Bruggen inspired by the garden’s form added the cherry element into the composition, .

     

     

     

  • WONDERLAND Jaume Plensa

    Calgary, Canada
    Wonderland is a world of imagination that grows in our minds and lives in our dreams. The Spanish artist Jaume Pleansa created this sculpture with a height over 10 meters out of wire mesh. There are two entrance doors on the two sides of the portrait’s neck which is inspired by a real-life Spanish girl. These allow the visitors to walk into the sculpture and thus to perceive the human head from within, looking at a very familiar form from a different perspective. The artist explains this piece with the following words: “The architecture of our bodies is the palace of our dreams.”

     

     

     

     

  • EL CAP DE BARCELONA Roy Lichtenstein

    Barcelona, Spain

    Created for 1992 Barcelona Olympics by the American Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein,El Cap de Barcelona” is one of the first open air sculptures of the artist. The work is designed in a way to harmonize with Antoni Gaudi’s unique architectural style that surrounds the entire city. The works stands in the coastal neighborhood of Port Vell and gives the impression of an oil painting when observed from afar.

    Made with ceramic tiles, “El Cap de Barcelona” (The Head of Barcelona) is an important highlight of the city that overflows with art.

    EL CAP DE BARCELONA – Roy Lichtenstein – Barcelona, Spain

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