Pamela Lawton Turns Skyscrapers' Reflections Into Fine Art

New York artist Pamela Lawton has an exhibit of her abstract paintings entitled "Liquid City" at the Condé Nast building.

Lawton's paintings incorporate reflections of New York City's modern architecture. Her interpretation of glass grids capture the hallucinogenic reflections of buildings in other buildings.


George Whipple: Tell us what these paintings are all about.

Lawton: The World Trade Center in the 1990s had a vacancy rate of 10 percent, so somebody had the beautiful idea of giving artists unrented spaces and so I had a studio there for two years in different parts of the twin towers. Looking out of for example Tower 2, looking at the Deutsche Bank building, painting the reflections of the Towers."

Looking across at the adjacent buildings, the other towers appeared to move and change from the glass.


"I noticed the architecture, kind of '70s architecture, tends to have distorted glass," says Lawton. "I was also experiencing the kind of vertical vertigo that you get when you're in the World Trade Center, you know, that kind of 'woosh' of the elevator and the swaying of the building. And so I wanted to include that in my work as well."


In the Condé Nast exhibit, Lawton has images including an 18-feet-high piece comprised of 49 rectangles, each corresponding to a window of the Condé Nast building.


"I'm painting something that's not interesting to tourists. They're interested in street events," says Lawton. "Instead, I'm looking high up at a beautiful skyscraper that's kind of timeless because it's capturing light, it's capturing rhythms and nature."

When painting, Lawton's studio is often in the chaotic streets of Times Square.


"It's almost an 'intervention,' that's sort of an art term that people use to talk about taking something ordinary and conventional and altering it in some way," says Lawton. "By noticing something obscure and distant and beautiful, I think it gives a different dimension to the neighborhood."


By the way, Condé Nast was founded by a man of the same name who lived up in Greenwich, Conn. and happened to be a friend of Whipple's grandfather.

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