Featuring 15 new sculptures made from found and milled wood and vine, Susan Lyman’s exhibition in March 2017, “Sculpture in the Unmaking”, was largely comprised of works reduced and reinvented from her sculptures of the past 30 years. For Lyman, there is nothing sacrosanct about the older work. With a saw, grinder, mallet and gouge, the sculptures are swiftly dissected, reconsidered and animated into new forms. The deconstructive process fuels Lyman’s longtime fascination with the body in the woodland landscape.
“Body Language 2”, shown here, was one such work, deconstructed and reconstructed from a 1985 sculpture, “People Look Ridiculous When They Are in Ecstasy”. That sculpture prompted a prose poem, “The Invention of Ecstasy”, by Jon Davis, the beginning excerpted here, and first published in Provincetown Arts (1988) .
“People Look Ridiculous When They’re in Ecstasy” is the name for a group of branches and vines grappling or made to seem as if grappling. Is the name for a sculpture I have never seen. But I’ve imagined the crooks and corkscrews, the conjunctions and appeasements, the whole abstracted mess of longings / longings satisfied / new longings arising, the thin, sharp-edged shadows, the polished look of branch and vine stripped bare and lacquered, the impossibility of single-mindedness, of coordination, control, the wildness tamed—but not quite—and the new wildness Susan put there….”