William Lamson : In the Roaring Garden
Sep 24 – Nov 7, 2015
Robischon Gallery is pleased to present the latest work and fifth solo exhibition by New York artist William Lamson. The previously exhibited notable works such as Lamson’s “A Line Describing the Sun,” “Action for the Paiva,” as well as the “Hydrologies” series have all distinguished the artist through their wide-ranging contemplative, every-man stance. William Lamson’s latest video entitled In the Roaring Garden furthers the dialogue as an experimental work ingeniously created to re-envision Henry David Thoreau’s iconic cabin and watery landscape. Employing a floating camera obscura – a box or room that serves as an optical device where light passes through an opening to illuminate an interior surface as it projects an exterior image, upside-down in color and in perspective – Lamson’s camera obscura takes the shape of an 8 x 8 foot floating, cabin-shaped tent. No ordinary forest dwelling, this is a 1:5 scale model of the 19th C American transcendentalist Thoreau’s one-room retreat at Walden Pond in Massachusetts. For In the Roaring Garden, Lamson filmed the camera obscura’s projections of the lake’s landscape as the moving images shone into the cabin, cycling through the daily rhythms on the water. Illuminating a white, three-dimensional interior filled with created laser-cut objects and translucent Plexiglas furniture, Lamson filmed the mesmerizing sparkling sunlight reflected off water, meditative clouds and swaying green trees as they crept across the interior all to the sound of lapping waves, rushing water and birdsong. The reclusive writer’s space, reimagined as an artist’s minimalist studio complete with a work table, tools, a writing desk, bed and chair, places the viewer inside a kind of sacred site of potentiality and creation. A rock-as-paperweight symbolically anchors a blank page as if to await a writer’s or an artist’s mark within the perpetually evolving light and shadowed work space. Over the course of the eighteen-minute video inside this innovative cinematic environment, the light animates the monochromatic objects through predetermined wall openings, highlighting even dust motes within beams of light as time seems elusive within the enclosure despite the rising and setting of the glowing sun. Lamson, ever willing to align in tandem with unpredictable natural forces, whether it be in a blazing desert with wind-whipped sand or riding turbulent river currents as he has endured in the making of previous work, the artist’s union with the gentler elements of the Walden Pond theme link him to Thoreau’s timeless naturalism, as he contemporizes both simple and refined technologies to produce an expressive and original experiential work. As in all of William Lamson’s series, his subjects spark an awakening to the world and the recognition of the beauty and the power within it to further invoke reverence and imagination.
A 2014 recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, William Lamson has an MFA from Bard College and a BA from Dartmouth College. His work has been shown widely throughout the US and Europe including the Brooklyn Museum, MOMA PS1, Kunsthalle Erfut, Moscow Biennial, Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver and many others. He has created site-specific installations for the Center for Land Use Interpretation, Storm King Art Center, Indianapolis Museum of Art and the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. His work is in permanent museum collections including Brooklyn Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and numerous private collections. A MacDowell Fellow, he has also received honors from Shifting Foundation and the Experimental Television Center.