Gillian Lawler's paintings explore ideas concerning architectural unease, referencing imaginary, fictional landscapes that explore a dystopian science-fiction terrain. Her work highlights the peculiar aspects of contemporary architectural design, often exaggerated through heightened perspective, leaving the viewer with both a sense of sublimity laced with unease. Recurring patchwork motifs, like lines of buildings or grids on the ground upon which the edifices are planted, accentuate a definite but skewed anti-perspective, suggesting an homage to pre-Renaissance interior paintings, which herein add to a surreal, dreamlike sense of discomfort, where what appears to have been planned according to a perspectival logic is withheld and subverted. Familiar architectural motifs are presented only to be subverted, architraves and walls are pulvinated or cushion out like billowing drills, yet nothing in Lawler's architectural tableaux is as it appears. Lawler envisions her creations as buildings that conceal their ghostly inhabitants; in this regard, the viewer is confronted with a wasteland, suggesting a vast and fragile future or past: a spatial, structural and psychological fluctuations and schisms within an urban framework.
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 exhibited extensively throughout Ireland and abroad including recent solo shows at the Fenderesky gallery (2010), The Dock (2009), This is not a shop, Dublin (2009) and Draiocht Arts Centre (2007).
Group shows include, Difference Engine, Accumulator, West Cork Arts Centre (2012), Pallas Periodical Review, Pallas Projects,(2011), Systems Beyond Certainty, Beers lambert Contemporary, London, (2011), Difference Engine, Manifestation V, SOMA, Waterford (2011), Difference Engine, Manifestation IV, Wexford Arts Centre (2011), Difference Engine, Manifestaion III, CSV Cultural Center, New York (2011), New Connections, Rua Red, (2011), Eigse Arts Festival, Visual, Carlow (2011), Difference Engine, Manifestation II, The Black Mariah Gallery/Triskel Arts Centre, Esb Sub Station, Cork (2010), Bizarre Bazaar, Pallas Contemporary Projects (2010), Preponderance of the Small, Douglas Hyde Gallery, (2009), Difference Engine Manifestation I, Cake Contemporary Arts, (2009). And No Soul For Sale : A Festival for Independents, X-Initiative New York City, (2009).
Upcoming shows include the Oriel Myrddin Gallery, Wales (2013).
She was awarded the Hennessey Craig Award at the RHA Gallery Annual exhibition in 2007 and awarded the overall winner of the Open Selection exhibition at the Eigse Arts Festival in 2009. Other awards include a Kildare Arts Services Award 2011/2009 and an Arts Council Bursary Award 2009. She was shortlisted for the Beers Lambert Contemporary open call exhibition I am Solitary in London. (2011)
She is co-founder/member of the group Difference Engine. Difference Engine is 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.