Friday, 6 July 2012

This Evening at 6pm you are required to attend

Here's a response to my current body of work by the writer Richard Purden. I have said many times that I am inspired by stories or elements of narratives. My work as a whole contains fragments of mythology, religion, folk tale and fable. Whilst I am not religious in the slightest, there is something about the imagery of the bible that I find fascinating. I also do not believe that the Titans or characters from the fables of Aesop have any grounding in reality. I prefer to reference these culturally valid modes of thought. I aim to create half narratives to be concluded by those viewing the work. I find it immensely rewarding when people can make this work their own.
I am honoured that Richard has written about my work and have gained fresh insight into my own inner workings from his writing. Awesome!

Freshly Fallen From The Sky by Richard Purden

So where did all this begin, where does anything begin; there is no beginning there is no end. Originally from Darlington, Dylan Lisle would occupy himself above his parent’s pub, the sodium bulbs and night stars providing him with enough brio and encouragement amid the fitting back drop of a thriving 1980s English tavern. But there was something in his blood and spirit pulling him further north, there’s a delight when Lisle talks of his grandparents and holidays in Nairn, the de-industrialised north of England had provided enough shade; Scotland seemed to represent something fantastical, ancient and other, he said: “I spent a lot of time there growing up, my family is originally from Nairn and I used to go on holiday with my granddad, we travelled throughout the Islands, looking at the graveyards, the sea; I loved it, I wouldn’t go back now.” It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of fight in the dog lover, Dylan Lisle emerges from his studio in Leith like the victor in a street brawl, in person his wiry frame resembles a meek martyr in a Carravagio painting. But unlike those who were more than willing to go to their death there’s a conviction in Lisle that suggests you wouldn’t bet against him taking on a muscular Roman bonehead. Think Peter raising his sword to protect Christ or David slaying Goliath with one vital strike. Not that he’s lairy or unfriendly but you can sense that for Lisle, the struggle is home. There’s is unquenchable journeying in Dylan’s work, this collection is more religious than romantic; you can sense the isolation and enlightenment that comes from a worldly retreat where quite often his only companion is Leda, his ever present Doberman. The affectionate Leda, now rightfully reinstated in Lisle’s studio, recently made an appearance on S.T.V. after being dog-napped ...but that’s another tale. In front of me the illuminating Genesis is a good place to start, an understated beauty of half-human and half-angel origin, it could be what the Old Testament text describes as The Nephilim: Genesis 6: 4: “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days-and also afterwards-when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.” Like a beautiful melody that brings the people together to sing a mass chorus at a football match, in a church or at an outdoor festival, Dylan Lisle’s work is familiar, part of a tradition and something that has been around a long time. It’s sensual, divine and life-giving no matter your social background, belief system or taste; you feel the better for having been around his work for however long you can afford in this retreat of cerebral and spiritual wonder: “The fact is I haven’t over intellectualised it, art was for the people in 15, 16 and 1700s, and paintings were hung in public places, look at murals or the Sistine Chapel these things are for the public not for the exclusively rich.”, says Dylan. A recent quote from Charles Saatchi is also worth paying attention to on the subject. He said: “my dark little secret is that I don't actually believe many people in the art world have much feeling for art and simply cannot tell a good artist from a weak one, until the artist has enjoyed the validation of others – a received pronunciation.” Dark little secrets and ancient truths wrestle for dominance as Jacob wrestled the angel everywhere in these works. The commission comes from the artist’s imagination; he is inspired by painters who were guns for hire and were mainly kept in employment by the church to inspire the masses and lead them toward Christ and all the ancient mysteries and universal truths that go with faith. Hedge funds, riots, financial crisis, materialism, individualism, celebrity trash; chose your transgression; there is much to grieve. “Lamentations” releases the baton from Rembrandt; his “Jeremiah Lamenting the Destruction of Jerusalem” is a vision of a community and the individual living through almost apocalyptic destruction. Lisle once again leads us to that elemental place where the human condition recovers, transforms and redeems but first we must acknowledge the wreckage:Lamentations 1:1: How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations! She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.” Staying on the path to destruction, we revisit another constant handed over from Caravaggio in Narcissus. The isolation this time suggests not melancholic contemplation but a fatal seduction; the modern celebration of self and the mundane. “Pieta” has traded Christ for a stuffed animal, perhaps suggesting the secular grip on modern art where universal truth has again been exchanged for the adulation of dullness- tradition is the enemy and all its meaning is lost. “Fox-head” and “The Magicians Assistant” dispense a chilling sensation; where we are privy to the affectation of taking on a role for gain or to fit-in.  The sleight of hand is an uncanny revelation of what someone or something wants to remain unseen. The artist reveals a vision of the hidden while pulling us toward something static and deathly:  Luke 12:2: “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” For me, Dylan Lisle is a religious artist, as Catholic Caravaggio was swept up in the counter-reformation; Lisle’s work is counter-secular.  He presents us with two choices in these works the sensual visions of male desire sit comfortably with visions of narcissism and the masking of something that should not be. But on “The Way Home”, like “Genesis” the focus of the subject is not on self, it’s centred on something peaceful and beyond itself, there is purpose, there is a journey to be made and hope has been found. We are seeing redemption and freedom from the facade, the desires, the losses and the self. The focus of the subject has shifted. As long as Lisle continues to plunder the hills with his grandfather, lost lovers and the infinite; we can all be grateful for the work.

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