About the Artist

Artist’s Biography

Pamela Lawton’s paintings and drawings have reflected the height of the World Trade Center, the cacophony of Times Square, NYC, the fountains of Seville, and the rhythms of the Indian Ocean, all places where she has created art with zeal. She is a recipient of a 2019-20 United States Fulbright Scholar Grant in Siena, Italy, at the Siena Art Institute. She has exhibited in galleries and museums both locally and internationally, including one-person exhibitions at the Galeria Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica, The Conde Nast Building, NY, 180 Maiden Lane, NY, The Atrium Gallery, NY, and the Galeria Isabel Ignacio in Seville, Spain. Group exhibitions including her work have been featured in Pierogi Gallery, NYC, Sideshow Gallery, NYC, Tibor De Nagy Gallery, NYC, The Artists’ Museum, Lodz, Poland, and the Emmanuel Heller Gallery, Tel Aviv. Book collaborations with poets in which multiple images of her work appears include Sweet-voiced [mutilated] Papyrus, Anne Waldman (Spyuyten Duyvil Press, 2016), “Walking After Midnight”, Bill Kushner (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2011), and “A Place In the Sun” (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2010).  Lawton is currently an Artist-In-Residence (AIR) at Chashama, NYC has been an AIR at the World TradeCenter through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, among others. Interviews featuring her one-person exhibitions were featured on NY 1 News, in November 2011, and November 2009. She received a BA from Bennington College in visual arts and an MFA in painting from the City College of New York and Scuola Lorenzo De Medici in Florence, Italy. While a faculty member at Eugene Lang College, New School University, she created a study-abroad art program in Sri Lanka. She has been teaching at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for more than ten years, where she helped to create a course “Seeing Through Drawing”. She is currently on the faculty of Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.

Artist’s Statement

Glaring facades and interiors of skyscraper reflections drive my perceptually-based abstractions. This theme originated while an Artist-In-Residence at the World Trade Center (WTC) through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in the late Nineties.

At the WTC, I drew the view from Towers 1 and 2. There I discovered that buildings do move, both literally and optically. The undulating glass view from one skyscraper to another, in reflection, mirrored my sense of feeling afloat and un-tethered from high up. There forms dematerialized, multiplied, and oscillated, depending on the time of day and weather.

This paradox of solid structures that shift, of modern towers that feel unstable and impermanent, speaks metaphorically to the fragility of these icons of power and security, which I discovered through my personal experiences of them on an optical and experiential level.   My work addresses the impermanence of this empire of glass.

Before my WTC studio, I had been pursuing  reflections in water since painting in Florence, Italy, from reflecting pools. When form (architectural, sculptural, or landscape) is reflected in water, it  liquifies. The relationship between three-dimensional form and the flat surface of water echoes the painting paradox of illusory depth and painted surface. When awarded the WTC residency, I discovered an unanticipated parallel between buildings and reflections in water. Through reflection in glass or in water, buildings and forms  dematerialize, multiply, and oscillate. This sensation in my work mirrors my experience of being at the WTC or gazing into water –disorienting and shifting.

Turning recently to skyscraper and airport interiors, I portray the vertigo, disequilibrium and time-displacement I experience while riding escalators and people-movers.

In each different location where I work – including Times Square, the new World Trade Center as seen from Zuccotti Park, and Midtown office building interiors, I find these optical abstractions/distortions, and respond perceptually and inventively.I strive to portray the looming buildings and their hypnotic interiors.

 In each of my locations, I look out, down, or across, and find a vertical path through a wall created by light, I detail fluctuations while simultaneously rendering the deep macroscopic space of skyline, sky and water in glass. In this way I attempt to re-see and to re-invent how I experience the looming buildings of our city, an essential part of my daily life in New York.