Thomas Lawson exhibits a new series of paintings which are portraits of children and adolescents based on news photographs of the victims of accidents, child abuse and kidnappings. The photographs of these children used by the media were taken prior to the catastrophes; they are simple family photos, yearbook portraits, etc. These stereotypically innocent, smiling portrayals of children and babies give no indication of their newsworthy fate. Any meaning contained in the original photographs has been confused first by the media and now by Lawson who disrupts the habitual ways we have of observing and thinking about the routine images that surround us. Lawson translates the photographic/reproductive conventions of the news sour into painterly concerns with his ironical use of formal and expressive devices. His format is a square or rectangular canvas filled with the large-scale head of its subjects; monochromatic underpainting creates the image; an overlapping screen of painterly brushstrokes provides color definition and a self-conscious personal touch to the impersonal origin.
Thomas Lawson was born in Glasgow and now lives in New York. His work has been exhibited at Artists Space, Metro Pictures, Brooke Alexander Gallery, The Drawing Center and P.S.1 in New York; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax,; New Gallery 57, Edinburgh; Studio Cannaviello, Milan; Hallwalls, Buffalo; Texas Gallery, Houston; Nigel Greenwood, London. Lawson is the editor of Real Life Magazine and regular contributor to Artforum.
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