Tom Lawson: Automatics, Semi-Automatics, Re-Dos and Hard Labor

As the former vocalist for the 1990s Burlington, Vermont band The Pants, Tom Lawson is no stranger to pushing his creative endeavors on stage front and center. After viewing his “Autommatics, Semi-Automatics, Re-Dos and Hard Labor” painting exhibit at the Firehouse Gallery in Burlington, Vermont, you get an immediate sense that Lawson thrives on creativity, as his new stage transforms to an array of plywood, canvas, and paints sandwiched amongst an improvised array of energy.

Lawson stretches the imagination by exploring such possibilities as painting on top of paintings, therefore creating a blitzkrieg of colors that elicit energy from an assortment of colors and shapes. From the Jackson Pollock inspired “Holy Shit Part 2,” a long wall sized piece of latex, oil, and pastel on wood paneling that mixes greys, whites and yellows into a tornado of interaction, Lawson demonstrates his improvisational style moves beyond the guitar pick.

“Untitled” is a convivial painting from 1997 that includes shapes of moons, crowns, bubbles, flowers, music notes, into a parade of characterization, that provides its rather humdrum colors an immediate bolt of life. By contrasting the blues seemingly within the canvas, Lawson makes the most out of shapes and placement.

The 32 works on display were produced in the last seven years, and reverb over common themes. Although the back part of the gallery experiments with art consisting of simple brushstrokes, which include “The Collapse,” which is made up entirely of dripping brushstrokes that run and into each other, creating what the title rightfully implies. “Self Portrait” consists of a handful of brushstrokes that are simple, yet make you wonder exactly what is it portraying – a drip, a dash or maybe even Lawson himself.

Like any exhibit, these works should be visited to be fully realized, examined, and enjoyed. After all, this art work is fun, and showcases a mix of animated creativity bordering on the traditions of artists past, while pushing the boundaries of Lawson

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