Home Sweet Home
Oct. 27th - Dec 1st, 2018
Home Sweet Home is Natan Lawson’s first solo exhibition in the Baltimore area, and includes a new series of paintings and sculpture. The works in Home Sweet Home reference imagery found in home interiors - a nostalgic and perhaps melancholic look back at the tactility of childhood. Crafting projects, fridge drawings, bedroom decorations, wallpaper, pets, toys and games, picture books, textiles, still life paintings, floral patterns, and seasonal decorations inform the imagery that has been scanned or sourced from the internet and collaged, combined, and adjusted. This specific and loaded imagery is simultaneously autobiographical and universal, familiar to an 80s and 90s upbringing. Lawson revisits and monumentalizes these bygone aesthetics as meditation on collective and personal loss. This series builds on Lawson’s previous, abstract iconography sourced from a vast archive of printed material, referencing vintage computer graphics, graphic design, logos, and instruction manuals.
In this new body of work, Lawson continues his use of modified CNC and vinyl cutter machines to explore and subvert grid-oriented imagery. These mechanical units have been hacked and altered to use the axis-bound arm to execute imagery with a range of traditional artist media including acrylic paint and copic ink applied with brushes and airbrush. Lawson’s machines effectively “print” manipulated digital images that are sent from computer, requiring separation of the files into color layers much like other printmaking processes. The process has parallels to and visual echoes of traditional methods of creating images on a grid including textile production techniques like cross stitch and weaving. This alternative approach to painting involves stops and starts, swapping colors, misregistration, error, and imperfection, all of which become part of each final piece and reflect a process that is not fully streamlined and predictable.
Natan Lawson is a Baltimore based artist. He received his BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2015. He received an individual artist award in sculpture through the Maryland State Arts Council in 2016 and was selected as a resident artist at the Horned Dorset Colony in the previous year. Natan’s work is included in the Kadist collection in San Francisco, CA, and Capital One’s headquarters in MacLean, VA.
Art can be a tease. Made to be admired and needed, persuasive through declarative or suggestive means. It is formally definite but unstuck from time, and this peculiarity allows images to survive rippling contexts and societies with that same enticing glimmer as before, though still and always dependent on the kindness of strangers.
My grandmother took to the beach in Havana with a camera sometime in the early 1940s with the same intent, to smile her contour off that shore and cast it until it found its true audience, her ideal lover.
We know otherwise (just as Piero della Francesca splits inscrutable Madonna’s disinterest down the seam of her dress with her own daydreaming fingers). History accumulates like architecture and lives. Still, let's be probing and throw what is settled to the wind. To tease is to seduce and deny ownership and poke fun, draw out, tell the story again and again funny and unfunny. Let's see what happens.
Gaby Collins-Fernandez is an artist living and working in New York City. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College (B.A.) and the Yale School of Art (M.F.A., Painting/Printmaking). Her work has been shown in the US and internationally, currently included in "Third Space" a survey of contemporary art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama and recently at el Museo del Barrio, Nathalie Karg Gallery, Honey Ramka, and Danese Corey. Her work has been discussed in publications such as The Brooklyn Rail and artcritical, and was recently featured on the video interview series, Gorky's Granddaughter. She is a recipient of a Fellowship at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, and a 2013 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Emerging Art Award. Collins-Fernandez is also a writer whose texts have appeared in publications such as the popular Painting on Paintings blog, The Miami Rail, and The Brooklyn Rail. Her translations of a group of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz's sonnets with Kimberly Kruge was published in 2015 in Riot of Perfume Magazine. She is a founder and publisher of the annual magazine Precog, and a co-director of the artist-run art and music initiative BombPop!Up.
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