Three exhibitions by Michael Lyons form the basis of this reflection on his long-term artistic development. Reference is made to R. Krauss's notion of the ‘expanded field’, here radically re-imagined to begin with Picasso's cubist experiments of 1912-14, inaugurating the tradition of welded steel sculpture to which Lyons's work belongs. Lyons's use of ‘natural’ organizational principles is contrasted with the industrial, urban aesthetic associated with Smith and Caro. By integrating overt symbols with geometric elements, or gestalts, Lyons complicates the viewer's experience of the sculpture. Increased symbolic content in current work suggests a shift away from observed nature towards a more mythologized interpretation of landscape, a concern that pervades his most recent cast metal sculptures.