My sculptures and inlaid wooden panels take viewers on a
Debbie Lawson’s exhibition Dysfuncadelia is on view at Nettie Horn through November 16.
My sculptures and inlaid wooden panels take viewers on a journey through the psychological landscape of the domestic interior, where the very walls and floors are charged with desire, while humdrum objects quietly smoulder in the heat of sublimated emotion.
A Persian rug erupts into a lush desert oasis; a pedestal mat attempts to transcend its abject life to become a desert island; an aspidistra is smothered under layers of patterned carpet. Some pieces collide with each other, creating an animated hybrid that has a quietly sinister inner life and aspirations to be bigger than itself. My inlaid wooden panels—often featuring wolves or copulating couples—subvert the polite associations of a traditional craft into haunting landscapes depicting scenes of conflict and sexuality.
Like a picaresque tale, the work gradually unfolds to reveal strange truths about the world through a series of misadventures. Merged with the stuff that surrounds us, popular narratives, and personal histories are intertwined so that the imaginary and material realities seem inseparable.
I started by making kinetic and large-scale sculpture, warping ordinary furniture into different shapes or giving it a dramatic other life according to what I saw as its own particular aspirational quality. Then, as now, I was interested in found furniture, household objects, rooms, and furnishings that were tinged with the melodrama or melancholy of suburban family life.
In the past few years I have made an occasional table collapse and rebuild itself as if by magic when a person walks by; a flock of books fly overhead; a row of fancy chairs do the can-can, and a nest of tables grow into the size of a room so viewers could walk through the legs.