The leopard became Lewis’s primary totem animal as he spent many years sketching wild and captive leopards. Other big cats followed: cheetah, lion, tiger. The surfaces of his sculptures became more abstracted as Lewis explored the underlying muscular and emotional tension that imbued these predators with presence. Literal symbols of wilderness, Lewis’s cats also came to unconsciously express raw power, sensuality, sexuality and the capacity for violence within himself – emotions not easily expressed in his life then as a member of a conservative religious community.
Dylan has grouped the sculptures within the garden not as a response to a conscious plan but rather, as he describes it, through a process that unfolded intuitively over many years, in which certain sculptures seemed to ‘gather’ into distinct areas.