Magazine article Artforum International

William Lamson: MARTY WALKER GALLERY

Magazine article Artforum International

William Lamson: MARTY WALKER GALLERY

Article excerpt

John Cage--quoting Sri Lankan philosopher Ananda Coomaraswamy--famously advocated for art as the "imitation of nature in her manner of operation." In much the same spirit, Brooklyn-based William Lamson harnesses the wind and the waves for his recent work. From simple materials, such as empty bottles, twine, and wood, he cobbles together spindly kinetic contraptions that enlist those natural forces to generate pencil or black-pen drawings.

For example, Lamson taped a marker to a water bottle attached to the string of a kite. He then ran the string through a rough wooden tripod, so that when the wind blew the kite, it jerked the bottle around and marked sheets of paper taped to a board lying on the ground. The results--black sunbursts (two of which appear here)--would be regarded as expressive had they been made by hand. Channeling nature's indeterminacy, Lamson offers the absurd yet fantastical suggestion that the wind is able to draw.

The anti-rationality that seeps through Lamson's project is countered by his works' quasi-scientific titles, which list details relevant to their production, such as location and duration. Sea Drawing, March 4, 2009, 9:45-11:50 AM, Coliumo Chile (all works 2009), is a spidery web of graphite lines made by utilizing the force of ocean waves at that particular place and time. The titles of the kite drawings likewise include the date, location (Uruguay), and duration of the work's making, in addition to the volume of water in the bottle, as though Lamson were conducting a physics experiment, where exact data is crucial. …

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