This month, Thomas Lawson, dean of the School of Art at the California Institute for the Arts and editor-in-chief of East of Borneo, presents seven large-scale paintings at David Kordansky Gallery in Los Angeles. The paintings feature truncated, silhouetted images of classical statuary, nineteenth-century figure studies, modernist sculpture, cave art, and contemporary newspapers on bright, monochromatic backgrounds.
Selecting the exhibition as a Critics Pick at ArtForum. Travis Diehl writes that
It has been three decades since Thomas Lawson first stated his strangely qualified case for figurative painting as a political Trojan horse. Still, his latest works are more than painted corpses. Lawson’s current exhibition contains only seven paintings—big, good-looking ones at that—but in fact they are inwardly catastrophic, scattered with witty casualties….Brightly colored remnants of lost wholes, these works are reminiscent of the way myths have survived: in fragments. The cowering man in The Bell screams in silent agony; he has had enough. Yet Lawson keeps on. Through its self-consciously “painterly” perversions—unexpected transparency, jarring coloration, and strange formal correspondences—this exhibition crossbreeds and sutures huge chunks of culture. Think what you will; these monsters are thrilled they exist…
Painting discussions in Chicago today (2010)
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