Sonia Lawson: Passions and Alarms
260 x 260mm
Publication 28 November 2014
Sonia Lawson RA, RWA is an artist whose work constantly resonates with the new, her images
transforming a commonplace activity into an epic event.
Born in the Yorkshire Dales into a family where both her mother and father were well respected
painters, Lawson has developed her own idiom in paint, yet has never been afraid to embrace new
forms and ciphers for her work.
This much-needed monograph traces her very personal style from the semi-abstract early paintings,
moving into her vision of artist as witness: a darker period recording injustices on canvas. From this
sombre palette she turned to raw pigments and a personal mythology, with rosy sculptural images of
warmth and light. Currently she has returned to a form of abstraction whereby her work is
‘compressionism’ (her term), compacting the canvas with colour and meaning. Layers of paint can be
read as abstracts, yet these surfaces are inscribed and scored with denizens to reveal a figurative
dimension. She says ‘the result should be a “compression” like vegetation becoming coal, a tough,
simple parcel packed with pent-up energy.’
Lawson’s recent work is a sort of Rosetta Stone, at times intriguingly arcane and inscribed with
living, jostling beings, depicting the elemental. It is a rich tapestry and with a sense of the absolute, of
something writ in stone which lends a positive determinism to the ongoing journey.
This monograph simultaneously traces Sonia Lawson’s academic and personal history, illuminating
her outlook and her dramatic and diverse oeuvre.
Nicholas Usherwood is a curator, art critic and writer on contemporary art and culture. He has
written for publications including The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday
Times, Arts Review and Resurgence and has been Features Editor of Galleries magazine since 1998.
His several books include, for Sansom & Company, a monograph on the artist Evelyn Williams.
Trade orders: Orca Book Services
T: +44 (0)1235 465500
Postal orders: 160 Milton Park, Abingdon, OX14
Sansom & Co Ltd ▪ 81g Pembroke Road ▪ Clifton ▪ Bristol BS8 3EA
For further information, images, author interviews,
review copies: Paul Deaton
T: 07867 555690