‘Where does animalkind end and humankind begin? What of the wild and the primitive within? In exploring these tantalising enigmas, Lewis searches wilderness, myth and ancient belief systems for inspiration, meaning and answers.’
His large cat sculptures began as a direct and literal, visceral response to the wild animal within its natural environment. He was fascinated by the raw and totally intact instinct behind these feline physical expressions, seeing them as symbolic and archetypal bodily responses – the most extreme manifestations of intrinsic animal being.
Lewis never set out to realistically depict these animals for their own sake. Instead, the cat was chosen as a metaphor that was strong enough and mysterious enough to convey his deeper passion for wilderness areas: those untamed tracts of rugged landscape the large felines inhabit and where the sculptor feels most at home.
The cornerstone of Lewis’s artistic ethos has always involved long hours of drawing and sketching from life, in front of his living, breathing subject as he observes, smells and senses it. For him, the act of drawing is also a meditation of focused observation, and he constantly returns to it while sculpting, filling books with sketches, notes, and drawings.
In time the composition of Lewis’s cat predators changed, becoming more dynamic and less constrained. There was a shift away from a formalised base, and later works were done in the round. Although Lewis now focuses mainly on human figures, the cat image is something to which he returns from time to time.