Following Lawlor’s recent exhibition at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum in Copenhagen in February of this year, the current exhibition at Rod Barton, presents a new body of four works that were produced in its wake. The essence of Lawlor’s practice, working wet-on-wet, aspiring to both a depth and wholeness, in an exploration of what might almost be considered Deleuzian folds of paint – fold as thought, and potentially as field of subjectivity - remains unchanged.
These new paintings cite, perhaps more specifically than before in Lawlor’s work, visual memories from childhood, the line and form reminiscent of the undefined biomorphic universes of Sendak or dr. Seuss, with a heightened chromatic range that at times seems to verge on the cartoonish or technicolour. As such, ‘Steam-boat willie’ 2016, 200 x 160 cm, while paradoxically referencing the black and white, also taps into the collective memory of that era of golden-age cartoons heralded by the eponymous animated film.
If the work is non-figurative rather than purely abstract, the references such as they are, as always in Lawlor’s work, remain implied rather than explicit. To cite Camus 1 but signifies. It is the aliveness of the paint as a medium, the inherent trace of movement, organic forms verging on the biomorphic that create the sense of a suspended animation, in open images that function, in the artist’s words, as visual onomatopoeia.
1. L'artiste est comme le dieu de Delphes: "Il ne montre ni ne cache: il signifie."
Albert Camus, in Carnets III, cahier VIII mai 1958
Erwin Lawlor - Paintings
Rod Barton, June 9 - July 16