Profile: Dylan Lewis

‘Creation creates – constantly, without end’. Cape Town sculptor Dylan Lewis takes his cues from memory and the natural world around him. His incredible works, featured in a new book titled Dylan Lewis: An Untamed Force (Fernwood Press), are an absolute must for lovers of both art and nature.

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Male Trans Figure by Dylan Lewis. Image by Gerda Genis

Dylan Lewis: An Untamed Force takes the reader on a personal journey through his life – focusing on his years growing up in Johannesburg in a family of creatives, to life in Cape Town and the very definite influence of nature in his work.

As the introduction explains, ‘…the force of Dylan’s talent as a sculptor cannot be separated from the memories and geography of his childhood. From an early age, he was exposed to the wilderness, animal encounters and the world of clay and canvas and paint.’

Over a number of years, he has explored the relationship between the human state of being and the wilderness. His dramatic figures integrate earth, animal and human.

‘As a child I was passionate about collecting bones, rocks and animal skulls; these natural objects gathered during my frequent excursions into wild places and kept in my bedroom had deep meaning for me. If you look around my studio today, you will see nothing much has changed,’ he says in the book.

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His father, also a sculptor, played an enormous role in his development as an artist – and anecdotes, quotes and stories form part of the book’s narrative, along with beautiful words from the likes of Joseph Campbell and Rainer Maria Rilke.

The book is a journey in witnessing the evolvement of the man, the artist and the work. As Lewis says, ‘The progression of my art has no clearly defined beginning or end. Elements of my earliest animal sculptures can be seen in my latest human figure works. They are all an expression of my deep and abiding passion for wild nature, a reflection of my internal journey of discovery.’

‘I struggle to express my emotions in words – clay is my voice,’ he says.

There is no doubt that this prolific artist continues to evolve – something that is evident in this book, so beautifully photographed by Cape Town photographer Gerda Genis.

Dylan Lewis: An Untamed Force is available in all good book stores and is published by Fernwood Press (an imprint of Penguin Random House).

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