Lawlor’s painting practice rests on a foundation that is secured by the act of painting itself. This act ought not to require justification, though as a medium much continues to be demanded of it. Lawlor’s response is not to embellish or subvert painting by bending to fashionable will, especially one that views painting as marginal artifact. For Lawlor painting itself is an act of resistance both to this voguish inclination but also to more expeditious modes of image making.
Lawlor hones her vision on the interior of gesture, placing us inside its anatomy. The proximity she offers us is akin to a kind of chromatic MRI of the body of paint. Each gesture seems to fold upon another with varying degrees of ferment. The looping trajectory of the broad brushstroke insinuates depth and whilst there is not the wry weaving and flattening of space present in a Bernard Frize for example, Lawlor’s space cascades towards each edge only to turn in time and again.
Critically Lawlor’s paintings transcend the limitations of “process” painting per se and allow for a host of metaphorical implications. There is something of Jacqueline Humphries’ meteorological turbulence and leaner viscosity, and like Humphries, she remains wary of the esoteric baggage attached to abstract expressionism but open to the possibility that painting can shoulder metaphorical weight. As fluid as these works appear they avoid the trappings of lyricism whilst indicating a newer, less encumbered romanticism, something I was reminded of when talking with Erin in her London studio about her works and those of Günter Umberg. His writing seems utterly pertinent to her work…”The way I make something gives me a close relationship to the world…sometimes I think that I wouldn’t even be here without this experience.” This closer relationship to the world brings me back to the intimacy of Lawlor’s dissection of gesture. By placing us so near to this tumult, the painting arouses and heightens our sensitivity without recourse to sentiment.