Lyle Salmi

Painter & Printmaker, Decatur, IL   


Artist Statement: As a painter, I am interested in how color, form, and light interact within the pictorial space. Color and form are inseparable from both light and space. Forms emerge from the process of painting, as a result there is an intimate relationship between implied space and the literal surface of the painting.

There is a stability and familiarity in the repetition of certain movements and brushwork which allows me to be free from thinking overtly about composition. I am free to attend to the rhythms of the brushwork and forms as they may progress within each painting.

I like to think that my paintings offer the viewer the opportunity to experience stasis along with movement, presence along with absence, mass along with void, form along with space, etc…. each, in relation to the other. These are what I understand to be the forces inherent in nature…constantly working in relation to the other, yet at times also seemingly invisible.

The forms in each painting may reveal themselves as shimmering entities….are they a solid mass, or like a mirage- merely vaporous movements? That which may initially appear to be solid, may in fact be as porous as the atmosphere. Forms may appear to be deliciously close, yet deliriously distant… approaching the edge of recognition, yet careful to remain unnamable.

Perhaps form is not separate from the surrounding space. Perhaps form, space, and light are continuously forming and reforming in a dynamic exchange. I leave this for the viewer to decide.

Painters whom I admire include Claude Monet, Vincent VanGogh,  Pierre Bonnard, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, and Susan Rothenberg.

Speaker Bio: Lyle J. Salmi is an Associate Professor of Art at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where he teaches painting, drawing, and printmaking. In addition, Salmi oversees Carriage House Press, a student run print studio located on the grounds of the James Millikin Homestead. See

Professor Salmi has also been a Coleman Foundation Fellow since 2008. See

Professor Salmi has been a visiting artist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, Fairfield University, Fairfield, Connecticutt, and at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois.  Salmi has also exhibited his paintings throughout the United States. Salmi’s paintings can be viewed at

Sponsored By: Paper Fox Printmaking Workshop, Fine Arts Colloquium, the Dyrud Family Collaborative Fund, and the Art & Art History Department