William Lamson : Automatic
Sep 18 – Nov 1, 2014
Recognized New York artist William Lamson presents “Automatic,” a three-part video and drawing project in which the forces of the wind and ocean were used to power rudimentary drawing machines. The three contraptions employ a windmill, a kite and plastic bottles to form basic, yet ingenious systems, which once in motion, continue to operate without involvement. In addition to two distinct drawings, produced in concert with the elements, a video documents the uncanny movement of the apparatuses at work and their relationship to their remote locales. “Automatic” exposes the tension between the agency of an artist to create and control the parameters of each device, and the unpredictable elemental forces that animate them.
Distinguished by his numerous innovative durational projects, Lamson’s work fearlessly and consistently engages with nature through invention, fortitude and at times a strong sense of the absurd. When not reliant on his own physical strength and abilities to perform “Actions” within an environment, a specific “set up” or cunning device will often be created – affording the artist a way to specifically interact with nature over longer periods of time. As an example of the series, a specially-designed yet unseen precarious platform allowed Lamson to appear to float on the surface of various rivers after mastering the required balance through perseverance. In one of the artist’s most notable works, A Line Describing the Sun, Lamson used a hand-crafted vehicle with a Fresnel lens to fuse a hemispherical arc of glass onto a dry lake bed in the Mojave Desert. The documenting of the process resulted in a beautifully composed and awe-inspiring universal video work – man and his essential machine, which visually expressed the human desire to see and harness an immeasurable force. With varying aspects of Lamson’s artful endeavors made manifest – part earthwork, part performance and subsequent video, the earthly and solar forces Lamson uniquely explores are made evident through the artist’s own sense of curiosity, methodical mark-marking and exuberant science.
The most-recent 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 and the Indianapolis Museum of Art and 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. Lamson is currently working in Chile’s Atacama Desert on his next video.