‘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.’
Whereas the first fragmented forms were animal in nature, he has since incorporated the fragment metaphor into recent human figure work and continues to be fascinated by the idea of evoking presence through absence.
Devoid of their most distinctive animal attributes, namely the head, tail and paws, the fragments are invested with a nascent human physical quality that is particularly visible in those that are vertically positioned. The result is a disturbingly ambiguous anatomical manifestation that begins to blur the boundaries of human and animal as separate and exclusive entities.
The idea of evoking presence through literal absence is a theme traceable back to the sculptor’s first exposure (in1990) to the huge Egyptian, Greek and Assyrian fragments on view at the British Museum, when he was struck by the evocative power of the broken form.
If the earlier healthy and functioning animal represents aspects that are wild and free, then these fragmented forms speak of the consequences of taming and destroying our animal connection to the senses.