How are Lewis’s early bird images connected to the giant broken fragmented forms, or his landscape paintings to the skull-masked male shamanic figures? A Jungian idea may be helpful: As we become more self-aware, the imagery in our dreams changes, from impersonal natural forces – such as volcanoes and storms – as metaphors for feelings, to animal and finally human imagery as we integrate disowned aspects of ourselves into our conscious life.
To some extent, Lewis’s work has followed a similar trajectory, from first childhood drawings of stormy seas and landscapes, to his vital paintings of the African wilderness, to bird and later animal sculptures, which in turn became half-human-half-animal, and finally fully human. Where animals were once the artist’s vehicle to express intense emotion, the human figure is now his focus. Says Lewis, ‘The cats held sexuality, violence and power at a time when I couldn’t.’ With this in mind, the sequence of sculptures in the garden may be seen as illustrating the artist’s journey towards self-acceptance and non-judgement.