Artists statement and biography

‘This entropic sense of order precariously poised on a rising tide of disorder characterises her finegrained arrangements of grids, fault-lines, slippages, extreme perspectives and smoke plumes It’s a visual language that is rich in associations. She manages to suggest great scale – shifting tectonic plates, the earth’s atmospheric envelope – without making vast images. ‘

Aidan Dunne, The Irish Times, May 2018

My work is an ongoing/evolving exploration of place, organisation, relocation and transformation using painting, sculpture, photography and slide/video projection. My work incorporates personal experience while reflecting current thinking on climate change and a prevalent existential unease.

I use abandoned places as back drops, empty and laid bare, a vista which allows me to imagine an alternative timeline or dimension, a terrain exposing the residual infrastructure of once concentrated human civilization. I am drawn to the changing states exposed in these places, where ecological devastation has led to a rewilding of the terrain by nature. These landscapes allow me to juxtapose imagined forms directly painted onto the canvas and over time are erased and reworked. Suspended, grounded and hovering structures invoke their ghostly inhabitants and act as sentinels, observing at a distance, travelling perhaps to another place, appearing conspicuous at times or camouflaged by elaborate patterning, adding a surreal, dreamlike sense of discomfort, where what appears to have been planned according to a perspectival logic is withheld and subverted. My work evolves slowly, building up imagery and association layer by layer. These layers are very subtle and enrich the work with a depth of meaning only perceptible through the act of prolonged observation

My previous ’eminent domain’ exhibitions, based on my visit to Centralia, an abandoned mining town in Pennsylvania USA, referenced the reality of a desolate, post polluted landscape and the forced relocation of its inhabitants to a nearby borough. Sinkholes, ventation systems, reminents of abandoned homes, overgrown streets and barren unaccessable areas became prominent imagery within my subsequent work.

My recent work incorporates the platform as an entity which is at times grounded, moving, suspended, tethered, hovering and at other times standing apart from the surrounding landscape. Upon the death of my mother in late 2017 my use of platforms became a repeated motif within my work. The platform as a structure of viewing and presentation allows the viewer to consider its form and meaning and for me provides a vehicle for ideas based on transition and movement across boundary lines


Lawler was born in Kildare in 1977 and currently lives in Dublin. She received a BA in Fine Art from the National College of Art and Design, Dublin, in 2000. She has won numerous awards including the Graphic Studio Dublin Print Award Residency 2019, the Hennessy Craig Award, RHA Gallery Annual exhibition in 2007, the Whytes Award, RHA Gallagher Gallery in 2007 and the overall winner of the Open Selection Exhibition Award at the Eigse Arts Festival in 2009. Other awards include a Kildare Arts Services Award 2015/2013/2011/2009, an Arts Council Bursary Award 2009, and Culture Ireland Award 2011/2017/2018. She was shortlisted for the Beers Lambert Contemporary, Thames and Hudson publication, 100 Painters of Tomorrow in 2013, the Celeste International Art Prize in 2012 and a Merit prize from the Golden Fleece Award in 2013.

She has exhibited extensively throughout Ireland and abroad including solo shows at The Weber and Weber Gallery, Turin, Italy, curated by Valeria Ceregini (2018), The Molesworth Gallery, Dublin (2018/2016), Pallas Projects, Ireland (2015), Galway Arts Centre, Ireland (2014), the Fenderesky Gallery, Northern Ireland (2007/2010), The Dock Arts Centre, Ireland (2009) and Draiocht Arts Centre, Ireland (2007). Group shows include,188th Annual Exhibition, RHA Gallery (2019), Difference Engine, Altern_nator, HDLU Centre for the Association of Artists, Zagreb, (2018), House Taken Over curated by Hickey + Hickey, The Sonorities Festival, Belfast (2018). Resort Revelations, Lynders Mobile Home Park, Portrane, Dublin (2018), Wavelength, The Molesworth Gallery, Dublin (2015), MAD Art Fair Madrid, curated by Jim Ricks (2014), Lacuna [02], Taylor Gallery, curated by David Quinn and Sabina McMahon (2014), 40/40/40 Exhibition of Contemporary Art celebrating Ireland’s 40 years in the European Union, OPW, exhibition touring to Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid, (March – April), Biblioteka Uniwersytecka, Warsaw, (May – June) and Palazzo Della Farnesina, Rome, (June – July), Difference Engine, Accumulator, Limerick City Gallery (2013), Black Country, Lion and Lamb Gallery, London, curated by Nancy Cogswell (2013), Difference Engine, Accumulator II, The Oriel Myrrdin Gallery, Wales (2013), Difference Engine, Accumulator, West Cork Arts Centre (2012), Pallas Periodical Review, Pallas Projects (2011), Systems Beyond Certainty, Beers Lambert Contemporary, London, (2011), Difference Engine, Difference Engine, Manifestation III, CSV Cultural Center, New York (2011), New Connections, Rua Red, (2011),  Difference Engine, Manifestation II, The Black Mariah Gallery/Triskel Arts Centre, Cork (2010),  Preponderance of the Small, Douglas Hyde Gallery, (2009) and No Soul For Sale:A Festival for Independents, X-Initiative New York City, (2009).

Upcoming projects include a Print Residency Award at the Graphic Studio Dublin where I will develop a number of new prints for shows at the Graphic Studio Dublin Gallery, June 2019, a solo exhibition at The Molesworth Gallery in March 2020, a solo exhibition at The Weber and Weber Gallery in Turin curated by Valeria Ceregini, March 2021.


She is co-founder/member of the group Difference Engine, an evolving serial exhibition, and a model of autonomous artist curation, by artists Gordon Cheung, Mark Cullen, Jessica Foley, Wendy Judge & Gillian Lawler. Each Manifestation of Difference Engine is based upon an ongoing collaboration, a kind of ‘Jamming’, between the artists. The result yields engaging experimental exhibitions combining installation, video, painting, sculpture and writing.

Jamming is a form of error-detection.
Gillian Lawler and Mark Cullen, No Easy Flight of Bird Remains, West Cork Arts Centre, 2011.

Gillian Lawler and Mark Cullen, No Easy Flight of Bird Remains, West Cork Arts Centre, 2011.


















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