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Eagles Nest: Swirling Clouds. 2009
The Wedding in the Forest. 2008
Michael Lyons gained recognition in the 1960s through inclusion in group exhibitions such as the ICA’s ‘Young Contemporaries’ and Whitworth’s ‘Northern Young Contemporaries’. By the mid-1970s he was one of the finest steel sculptors of his generation, whose potent, architectural forms commanded attention in their relation to landscape. Participation in the Opening Exhibition of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 1977, followed by solo exhibitions at Manchester’s Whitworth, 1978 and London’s Serpentine Gallery, 1979, confirmed and embodied this intent. Dozens of solo and group shows have continued nationally and internationally until the present day.
Lyons’ sculpture ranges from steel construction, rooted in the tradition of Picasso, González and David Smith, to organic bronzes modelled on an intimate or monumental scale; although abstract, it draws on aspects of nature, cosmology, myth and ancient cultures. A visit to China in 1993 profoundly influenced the development of Lyons’ work, through teaching and making sculpture in Beijing, Shanghai and other cities. Residencies in Mexico, Canada, Germany, USA, Turkey and Cyprus have resulted in numerous large-scale sculptures produced in relation to these countries’ cultures and sculptural traditions.
Lyons’ sculpture is represented in the collections of the Arts Council England; Henry Moore Institute; Yale Center for British Art; Hepworth Wakefield; Jerwood Foundation and numerous other public and private collections in Britain and abroad. Lyons was a founder member of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, a Trustee of the Ironbridge Open Air Museum of Steel Sculpture and Vice President of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. Through his teaching he has contributed significantly to sculptural practice in the UK and in China.