Debbie Lawson, Dancing Queen, detail


Debbie Lawson's work takes the form of a series of episodes that invite the viewer on a journey through the landscape of the domestic interior, where popular narratives and personal histories are intertwined so that the imaginary and material reality seem inseparable. Visual codes collide, giving form to new animated hybrids with a quietly sinister inner life and aspirations to be bigger than themselves.

 

At the heart of the work is a focus on the cultural traditions surrounding everyday objects – specifically those found in the aspirational home. And although it may look elaborate, the impetus behind the work comes from a stripped-down idea of sculpture: the patterned carpet she uses as an outer surface emphasises the innate qualities of form while at the same time disrupting them so that it appears to alternate between three dimensions and two, creating a visual slippage.

 

Her interest in seeing the monumental through the prism of the small-scale or domestic comes from a preoccupation with the picaresque, a specific form of narrative where the central protagonist, a seemingly naive and unassuming character, embarks on a series of episodic adventures, seeing through the apparently innocuous to expose hidden, and often darker, or stranger, meanings.

 
'The Scottish-born multimedia artist creates a variety of work — from a set of chairs dancing the can-can to wood panelling imbued with scenes of intimacy — but perhaps none quite so striking as her tapestries, full-size wall hangings to which Lawson has affixed the heads and sometimes full bodies of various fauna. The effect is Magic Eye-esque: stand in front of the work and the beast, be it a bear or a stag, all but disappears; move slightly to the right or left and the animal reveals itself in three dimensions.'

Rebecca Tucker, The National Post (Canada), January 2015