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Thomas Lawson “New World” at PARTICIPANT

James Kalm is performing urban recon when he discovers “New World” an exhibition by one of the outspoken advocates of the “Pictures Generation”, Thomas Lawson. These recent paintings demonstrate the distance Lawson’s practice has progressed from the norms of the early 1980s. Depicting figures in modern dress, and presenting an image referring to contemporary Youth Culture, this series was nevertheless inspired by the 18th Century fresco “The New World” by Tiepolo, and displays a strong foundation in art history, an ironic return full circle from the a-historical crisis of the “Pictures Generation”. Includes excerpts from a discussion with Gerard Hemsworth and Rachel Baum.

Gerard Hemsworth at the Aldrich


You caught me bumbling about at the end there. I met Gerard Hemsworth only a few days earlier - Thomas Lawson introduced us - at the opening of his Hidden Agenda show at the Aldrich Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut. I was impressed with Hemsworth's reductive, "semiotic" shorthand, his dryly humorous approach to paint and surface, and his layered imagery that involves both hard-edged abstraction and immediately accessible, culturally specific figure. The show is up through January 2010. I urge everyone to see it.

From the Aldrich press release:

His long career has been devoted to a careful consideration of painting’s options, meanings, and tactics. Hemsworth’s visual language is comprised of line drawings of cartoon-like images, open spaces, and flat muted colors; representational works that have the familiarity of both modernist paintings and storybook pictures. He has developed a project that has allowed him to undermine the seriousness of high modernist art and cultural values, while at the same time providing a space that questions their possibility.