Opening Saturday 16th April at 11am
exhibition of 15 framed works and 10 sculptural pieces runs until 16 May 2016
LIONS – some notes by John W. Mills
The Lion subject imposed itself upon me after taking a group of students to the London Zoo to study not only the animals but the people observing them, this was an alternative life drawing, and no one was naked and standing still. I became interested in the caged lion and the implied sadness of caging such a powerful beast, leaving it to pace around the cage rubbing against the bars, so this was to become the basis of the imagery I made in all the media I use sculpture, painting and printmaking.
This subject in all its seriousness occupied me for about ten years, have not kept an accurate record of how many images I have made but as I have already stated all the disciplines I practice have featured in the work. The subject still keeps imposing itself on my memory demanding another image be made and another series.
As I studied the animal, more learning that the male lion is an indolent character quite happy to lie in the sun and let the lionesses do all the tedious work of hunting and tending the young, getting up only to eat and to mate and roar into action when threatened, but even then trailing the females. This bred a different image in my mind and I did not feel sorry about the apparent discomfort of the zoo because all the Lion needs is exercise enough to get tired and then to sleep and to be certain that food was always available to set routine; there is little likelihood of danger so roaring is just for showy narcissistic reasons, exposing the macho male.
I like my work to have a narrative aspect . I find a certain humour in this view of the lion and so the images I make sometimes can be light hearted. John W. Mills May 2016
John W. Mills PPRBS ARCA FRSA studied at Hammersmith School of Art 1947-1954, and at the Royal College of Art 1956-1960.
Various part-time teaching posts in UK from 1958-1962. Full-time at St. Albans School of Art and Hertfordshire College of Art and Design 1962-1977. Visiting Associate Professor in Printmaking and Sculpture, Eastern Michigan University 1970-1971. Visiting lecturer Detroit School of Creative Arts 1970-1971. Visiting Professor and Artist in Residence University of Michigan 1980. Stopped teaching on a regular basis 1977.
He was made Fellow of the Royal British Society of Sculptors 1982 and was awarded their Otto Beit medal in 1983 for the sculpture ‘Curved Neck Grace’. He was elected president of the Society in 1986 and again in 1997.He was made Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 1993. Awarded an Honorary Master of Arts Degree by University College Northampton 2000
The Lion has featured in many works on paper and as sculptures throughout Mills’ career. This exhibition has a collection of about 15 framed drawings and mixed media works on paper and 8 to 10 wall plaques and small sculptures in various media. Some are early pieces that have been recently finished and others are recent works.
Note by Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett……
Pyramid Gallery has been representing John Mills since 2015, but gallery owner Terry Brett has had an association with the artist and sculptor going back to the 1970’s, when he was at school with John’s son Dylan.
Many hours spent in those years in and around the artist’s house, his studio and garden which was filled with lifesize sculptures of dancers, divers, Buster Keaton, William Blake, Quentin Crisp and several Lions perhaps set me on a path that would inevitably lead to a career in the arts. Since taking over Pyramid Gallery in 1994, I have harboured the ambition to show and sell the work of John Mills, who I regard as one of the nations finest sculptors. It has taken twenty years to build the reputation of this small gallery to a position that such an eminent artist has offered to show his work here and it is with a great sense of pride that we will be showing this collection of lions which include new images and works that have been on and off the artist’s workbench for several decades. Terry Brett, April 2016