Sharon Lawless: Reusable
Opening reception: October 27, 2017, 6-9pm
@2017 Sharon Lawless/Robert Henry Contemporary
In Reusable, an exhibition of mixed-media collages (3) and sculpture (3), her third exhibition with the gallery, Sharon Lawless continues to manipulate spatial and structural frameworks with both found and purchased materials, like product packaging, wrapping paper, fake fur, sheet metal, old book bindings, altered pages from auction catalogs and plaster casts of product packaging, among others.
Beginning with random arrangements of materials Lawless develops each composition with equal influence from the attributes of the materials and her arrangement of each found element, acting and reacting to achieve the desired optical effects. Her materials and method of making work, like the images she creates with them, alternate between the rational and irrational. Through a visual vocabulary rooted in Formalism and equally informed by Surrealism Lawless’s collaged two dimensional compositions at first look structurally solid but fall apart on closer inspection as multiple perspectives and continuity errors become apparent. The visual contradictions and shifting, often multiple points of view oscillate between control and chaos. In her work, Lawless writes, “…facts give way to fiction, questioning the nature of reality, and perhaps reflecting the current state of politics and culture and the unavoidable background hum of bad news intruding into daily life.”
Her sculptures begin with plaster casts from discarded plastic and Styrofoam product packaging, often found on the street. These casts sometimes painted and combined with fake fur or other materials are integrated with the traditional architectural iconography and form of public monuments. These three dimensional sculptures, exhibited for the first time, are structurally sound objects that, unlike her collages, reside in an actual space. In her sculptures, Lawless creates functioning structures. It is our perception of them that alters as our perspectives of them change when we move around them in physical space. This movement adds the irrational element of chance to the experience of the work. Lawless involves the viewer in the creation of chaos that completes the work, “I’m attempting to engage the viewer by exploring spatial and color relationships, scale, the similarity between packaging and architecture, and the ways that manipulating visual logic can animate what we see.”