Join us for a conversation with Thomas Lawson, the painter, writer and magazine editor whose essay Last Exit: Painting inspired the title for our current exhibition.
Thomas Lawson will join us via Zoom from California.
Thomas Lawson (born 1951, Glasgow, Scotland) was Dean of the School of Art at California Institute for the Arts (CalArts) for three decades, and continues to teach there. He emerged as a central figure in the ideological debates at the turn of the 1980s about the viability of painting in the face of new media and market forces, and through critical essays such as "Last Exit: Painting" (Artforum, 1981) suggested a route out of the impasse.
With the emergence of what became known as the ‘Pictures Generation’ of artists in America, Thomas Lawson and Susan Morgan’s REALLIFE Magazine became an important voice for the interests and concerns of those connected to the group. Lawson has said recently:
“I make art, and think about art, to better understand life. Over the years this work has taken many forms, but a consideration of painting has always remained central. But in chasing these questions about art and life I have also written essays and reviews, published and edited magazines, organized exhibitions, and devoted a lot of time and energy to helping younger artists figure out what they need to do.”
Dougal McKenzie (born 1968, Edinburgh, Scotland) has been a Lecturer in Painting at Belfast School of Art since 2011 and is currently course director of the BA Fine Art programme. Following his undergraduate studies at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen, in 1990 he gained a place on the MA Fine Art course at the University of Ulster at Belfast. With a strong interest and involvement in artist-led projects in Belfast, from the early to mid-nineties he was a co-founder of Six-into-18 and also served on the first Catalyst Arts committee in 1994. He was a shortlisted prize-winner at the John Moores 23 Exhibition Liverpool in 2004, and also showed in the 2012 John Moores. He was selected for the MAC International in 2014, and his solo exhibition ‘A Dream and an Argument’ took place at the MAC in 2017. McKenzie says:
“I have always been interested in painting’s motivational force – its capacity for observational critique, its ability to challenge perceptions, its offer of dialogue and debate. For me it has never been a silent art form, it only comes to life once picture and content come into contact with the audience. The work and activities of Thomas Lawson and Judith Linhares have always exemplified this for me.”
To mark the end of New Exits: 10 Years of Painting Shows and continuing our Conversations about Painting series we are hosting two “in-conversations” led by painter and exhibition co-curator Dougal McKenzie, with Thomas Lawson and Judith Linhares.
This is a wonderful opportunity to hear about the practices of these two central figures who have played a significant role in the critical discourse around painting from the 1970s onwards and continue to produce work that confirms painting's place in the world.
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Two talks for £8
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Thomas Lawson in conversation with Dougal McKenzie