April 23rd - May 28th, 2011
Baer Ridgway Exhibitions is pleased to present the premiere West Coast solo exhibition of New York-based photographer Deana Lawson. Lawson, who works primarily in large-scale portraiture, will exhibit a series of recent photographs addressing several of her enduring concerns of self-representation, intersubjectivity, sexuality, injury, and familial intimacy.
Through a portfolio of highly personal portraits, the artist demonstrates her interest in the history and modes of symbolic narration. Lawson envisions herself not as an image-maker attempting to speak for the identity of her subjects, but instead, as a co-participant in self-representation. Her engagement ranges from immersive and frequent contact to the furtive, covert, and impersonal, as evidenced in her use of appropriated or sourced imagery.
She also addresses visual aesthetics within a given community by assembling archival materials, found photographs, and popular media into large-scale collaged wall works, as in Assemblage, a sprawling collection of photographs gathered from public and personal archives. Throughout, Lawson negotiates a knowledge of selfhood through a profoundly corporeal dimension, her photographs speaking to the ways that sexuality, violence, family, and social status may be written, sometimes literally, upon the body.
"What you see in her work is photographer as cultural anthropologist but also as cultural vivisectionist and forensic curator. Her practice subtly contests the suppression of Black visual epistemologies--as much through absence as presence, withheld information as much cultural saturation bombing. Drawing the spectator's eye to how people command space within the frame, how they proclaim ownership of selfhood before the camera is a recurring motif." Greg Tate, 2011
Deana Lawson received her MFA in Photography from RISD in 2004 and her BFA in photography from Pennsylvania State University in 2001. Recent Exhibitions include the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center (New York, NY), The Studio Museum (Harlem, NY), KIT Museum (Dusseldorf, Germany), Light Work Gallery (Syracuse, NY), Cohan & Leslie Gallery (New York, NY), Collette Blanchard Gallery (New York, NY), Artists Space (New York, NY), Print Center (Philadelphia, PA) and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art (Atlanta, GA). Lawson is the recipient of the John Gutmann Photography Fellowship, 2008-09 Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant and a NYFA Grant in 2006. Her work has been published in The Collector's Guide to New Art Photography Vol. 2, Time Out New York, Contact Sheet #154, and PQ Journal for Contemporary Photography Volume 24. Lawson has participated in residencies including the 2010 Workspace Residency at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (New York, NY), Light Work (Syracuse, NY) and Visual Studies Workshop (Rochester, NY). She currently lives and works in Oakland, California and Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.