Artist Spotlight: SIDNEY LAWRENCE
Globo Tour Travel Works on Paper
June 4 – July 16, 2015
University of California Washington Center
1608 Rhode Island Ave at Scott Circle
Lawrence’s exhibition of drawings, prints and constructions is deceptively lighthearted. At first glance, one might think these are simple works, almost akin to cartoons, or a child’s drawing, (although neither group should be underestimated), but a closer look, and a study of the pieces reveals a complex body of work, a glimpse of an artist’s obsession and a flash of awareness of his depth of understanding of mankind’s history on this earth. He owns these cities and landscapes.
He defiantly makes his point of view what ever he pleases: from the air, looking up from a street and or standing aside to see the profile of a city. He varies sizes of buildings and monuments according to their emotional and artistic importance. He favors the Holy Wisdom Basilica so it dominates Istanbul in Hagia Sofia (Istanbul), 2006. Although he uses color sparingly, the colors of his Venice Adrift, 2015, are romantic and aquatic. If he draws a bright sky, it is a child’s blue sky. The clouds and sky of Houses and Dunes, Denmark, 2013 showing sod roofs of simple homes are delightful. The red of the Eiffel Tower is slightly rusted and demands attention; the landmark tower also looks as though it is swaying. And it is viewed from the snowy peaks of the Alps. In a way, Lawrence is a troublemaker, forcing you to think and to absorb the shock of his distortions. But even the black of his inks and the whites of his paper convey color. You know even in black and white that the buildings of Catania created over centuries share a palette of yellows, browns, pinks, rose, terra cotta, and other colors of antique Italy. His penning of rivers, bays and seas, colored or not conveys white caps, blue or grey waters and even their temperature.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sidney Lawrence, a San Francisco native studied art history at U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Davis and came to Washington as an intern in 1974. He served as an information officer at the Hirshhorn Museum, where was surrounded by the work of national and international artists. He began to exhibit his own work and become an integral part of the active D.C. art community. Talking to him about his work set my head spinning and reminded me of something I had loved, but forgotten: the Galleria Delle Carte of the Vatican Museum. The display of very large maps made hundreds of years ago, such as the map of Sicily, is rarely mentioned, but these maps relate to Lawrence’s works on paper seen in this exhibition.