Rod Barton is pleased to announce a new exhibition by British painter, Erin Lawlor, who will be showing with the gallery for the first time. Lawlor will be presenting 8 new works that demonstrate the gesture and dynamism with which the artist paints. With art historical references to Willem de Kooning and Howard Hodgkin, Lawlor is concerned with the performative process of expression and movement through the medium of oil paint. Using a technique known as ‘wet-on-wet’, working in and through layers without allowing the underlying brushwork to dry, each painting can be seen to show a journey that both the canvas and the artist are a part of. Indeed, the artist’s body is prevalent in each painting; using a canvas size ranging from 25x20cm to, more often, 120x90cm, and up to 200x160cm, Lawlor stands over her canvas and applies diluted paint with large brushes in what is a physically demanding process. Furthermore, Lawlor sometimes uses a previous painting as her base, and this aggregate of previous colours and marks imbues an experiential sense of depth and journey through layers. Lawlor has spoken about how standing over the canvas on the ground puts the painting in a position of territory to be explored and laboured; unlike working vertically, which creates the sense of a window and distances the space between the eye and the canvas, Lawlor works both “above and within”.
Each painting presents a sense of movement, not only of the brush stroke but also that of the artist, too, every mark being deliberate and considered. Yet whilst the paint is manipulated by the artist and her brush, she is also constantly attentive, and open to, the ‘accidental’, the minute actions and reactions of the medium that entrain their own internal logic. For Lawlor, painting, as opposed to photography in which a single moment is captured, “is the sum of a whole suite of moments, that are intimately linked one to another, even entwined, of actions and gestures, decisions, that leave a trace, and remain sensitive in the final piece.” Lawlor is dedicated to the medium of oil paint and through her work she shows the seemingly limitless potential of working with oil and abstraction. With an endless scope for investigation and colour possibilities, Lawlor has spoken about her love of oil for the way the “light changes with the direction of the brushstroke, but also the texture and even smell of it” and so it is no wonder that her work offers an immersive quality, tugging on each of our senses. Implicitly, each brush stroke is imbued with a sense of space, volume, tone, contrast, shape, time, speed, and temperature, resulting in open images which allow the viewer to make their own interpretation of the painting.
Lawlor was born in 1969 in Epping and currently lives and works in London, having moved back to England in 2013 after a period of living and working in both Paris, and on an island off the west coast of France, since 1987. Recent solo exhibitions include Erin Lawlor, Maleri.Nu/Paint.Now, Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek Museum, Denmark (2016), Opening Scene, Galerie Klaus Braun, Stuttgart, Germany (2015), Four Paintings: London Fields, George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco CA USA (2015), Long Loud Silence (two person exhibition with Mary Bucci McCoy), Gray Contemporary, Houston, TX USA (2014), and Recent Paintings, George Lawson Gallery, San Francisco, CA USA (2013).