Artist Debbie Lawson: Disrupting Ordinary Perception With 3 Dimensional Persian Oriental Carpet Sculptures
The world of artist Debbie Lawson is one of color and an exploration of the imagination. Her exhibition work takes the viewer on a journey through the cultural traditions surrounding objects in our everyday lives. Her artwork takes the familiar and transforms it into something unexpected. Her art is meant to evoke emotion in the viewer and take them to their inner spaces while merging a two-dimensional world with a three-dimensional one.
Debbie Lawson re-imagines traditional Persian carpets and Oriental rugs and transforms them into incredible three-dimensional sculptures that are out of this world. Using chicken wire and masking tape, she creates life-size renditions of animals that literally jump out at you. Her sculptures fuse the man-made world with the world of plants and animals in an imaginative way.
Life and Exhibitions of Artist Debbie Lawson
Lawson was born in Dundee, Scotland and graduated from the Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins. She now lives and works in London. Her pieces feature animals that pop out from Persian carpets. Her pieces include foxes, bears, seagulls, fruits, and plant life. The animals merge with the area rugs and become a part of it. The result is a piece that brings a smile and sparks the imagination.
Lawson does commission work for both private collections and galleries. Her work is held in several prominent galleries including The University of the Arts London, The House of Lords, The Saatchi Gallery, Mario Testino, The University of Dundee, and Nottingham Castle Museum. She also has pieces in galleries worldwide.
Lawson also has an impressive list of solo shows. Recently, one of her pieces sold at auction for £20,000 to benefit the Archie Foundation’s Tayside Children’s Hospital Appeal.
Story Behind Debbie Lawson
When you first encounter one of Lawson’s Oriental and Persian rug sculptures, it takes a bit for your brain to catch up with what you are seeing. Our minds filter the world through a set of preconceived categories based on our previous experience throughout our lives. We try to fit what we see into existing categories, and if there is no category for it, sometimes our brain will at first reject it, rather than trying to integrate it.
This disruption is precisely what Lawson intends to create when someone encounters her work. A Persian carpet is a familiar object for which we have a preconceived idea of being a flat object. We have certain preconceptions about what the colors and designs look like and about our experience with them. Lawson disrupts the concept of a Persian carpet as a two-dimensional object and brings it to life to create an object that literally jumps out at you.
Her most famous pieces are the animals that emerge from the flat surfaces into three-dimensional space, but a favorite among private collectors are small tables covered in Persian carpets holding Persian carpet plants. These pieces are whimsical and fairy-tale-like, but just like the familiar childhood fairy tales, they can evoke our deepest emotions.
The works are about the merging of two worlds. They blur the boundaries between the material world that we can see and the imaginary. What emerges is a hybrid between the inner and outer worlds of the artist. According to the artist, her creatures have aspirations to become something larger than themselves. The use of the patterns in the carpets allows her to use a simple sculptural concept. The forms themselves lack detail, but they take on a seemingly real life of their own. They are transformed into something tangible in the imagination by their skin of carpet.
Lawson says that her inspiration comes from a preoccupation with a literary form called the picaresque. In this literary form, the protagonist is often an ordinary and somewhat naive personae. Their adventure exposes them to the hidden, sometimes darker, meanings of the ordinary. This exploration of the ordinary to bring out the hidden meaning is a central theme in the artist’s work.
When you first encounter the life-sized bear, it will evoke a feeling. At first, you may see only the carpet, then the brain perceives the bear, and this can spark a bit of innate fear, or perhaps a delightful feeling of the unexpected. Either way, Lawson has achieved her goal of taking the ordinary and causing the viewer to experience a deeper level of emotion.
Debbie Lawson is an artist whose work touches people on many different levels. She takes the viewer into a fantasy world of the imagination, using Persian carpets and everyday objects as the medium. Her work is an exercise in perception and creates an immersive experience for the viewer. Her world is much like a childhood fairy-tale where the imagined is real, and the real is just fantasy. If you have a chance to experience her work at a gallery, it is an experience that will not soon be forgotten.