on sabbatical 2015/16
For nearly 20 years Thomas Lyon Mills has
painted in the Italian catacombs and numerous European pagan sites. He is
represented by the Luise Ross Gallery in New York. He has exhibited at The Drawing Center in New
York, The DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, MA, The Boston
Athenaeum, the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; the
Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, AR; and numerous venues in Europe including
the American Academy in Rome and the residence of the United States Ambassador
in Italy. He has lectured and critiqued at Harvard University’s Graduate School
of Design; the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; the Cranbrook Academy of
Art, MI; Parsons School of Design, NY; Auburn University, AL; and both Temple
University’s and Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute’s programs in Rome. In 1996
he received RISD’s John R. Frazier Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Academic research/ areas of interest
years I have painted in the Italian catacombs and mithraeums, where I am the
only non-archeologist with permission to explore and work alone. What do I find underground? Miles of tunnels are so silent that I hear my
heartbeat. Skeletons embrace one another in tombs; paintings and carvings form
mysterious, iconographic hybrids of an emerging language. Worm-like creatures with millipede-like legs
coexist with 10-inch phosphorescent mantises that glow with green light. Blind
spiders the size of my hand make clicking sounds as they traverse the walls of
the silent tunnels.
My dreams, which I document in sketchbooks, are
harbingers of where I need to explore next.
All of my underground sites are transformed into one world – one
cosmology – on a threshold where the seen and the unseen co-exist. Time is elastic, continuous and circular.
This is my preferred world, the shadow world of memory, time and dreams.