Rob Lyon: Temenos

2 Feb-16 Mar 2024
PV 1 Feb 2024, 6-8pm

London E1 6LA


Hales is delighted to announce Temenos, British artist Rob Lyon's debut solo show with the gallery. Lyon (b. 1982 Lancashire, UK) lives and works in Sussex, UK. 

He has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Law from Bristol University, UK. A self-taught painter, Lyon has developed his own visual lexicon of mark making and motifs, composing landscapes from dots, dashes, triangles, and crosses to more referential repetitions of clouds, birds, and tree shapes. 

The Sussex landscape is an anchoring point for the artist, who spent his childhood on the South Downs and to which he returned as an adult. Although drawn from his locale, Lyon's paintings are imagined landscapes. His compositions inherit the rhythm, texture, and counterpoint learnt through writing music in his twenties. Developed from sketches, his paintings become complex arrangements of trees, burial mounds, and unregimented grids of fields. Simplified and reassembled, there is a tension between expression and control.

'Temenos' takes its title from a painting in the show and resonates with wider themes in this body of new work. In Greek mythology temenos refers to a sacred demarcation of land, which can be formally linked to the shapes in Lyon's paintings. In psychology temenos speaks to when the unconscious comes into light of consciousness, transpiring through dreams and drawing. This links to the paintings' explorative and transformative nature. In a series of 'Spring' paintings Lyon takes the viewer through an abstract life cycle - the five works suggest key moments from birth to death and rebirth.
Expanding on Paul Nash's concept of 'genius loci' - the spirit of place - Lyon considers how we as visitors activate the landscape and how the landscape activates us. Walking, looking, and recalling this 'activation' are key to the process of making each painting. Pockets of light and airy space evoke an absence, omission, or clearing - Lyon has come to see these spaces as representations of portals that combine as a measure of consecrated land, giving form to the notion that the landscape is a temple of sorts. He meditates on energy states of grief, loss, joy and ecstasy in connection to these portals in the landscape, through which we are 'transformed but continuous, elusive, reverberating echoes, a reversible reaction between becoming and ceasing, in a perpetual state of resonance.' (Lyon, 2023)
Lyon has had exhibitions at Warwick Arts Center, UK; Alzueta Gallery, Barcelona Spain; Adams and Ollman, Portland, Oregon, USA: Wondering People, London, UK; Gallery 94, Glyndebourne, UK; Blakefest 2020 and 2017, Bognor Regis, UK; the Warbling Collective, London, UK.