Elizabeth Atterbury, James Collins, and Sterling Lawrence @ Et al. Guest, San Francisco Nov 4, 2016 - Dec 3, 2016


Expanded Chicago 2016 with Document Gallery

OVERRIDE | A Billboard Project 2016

Residual Gaze of a Once Ritual Glow, Gradient 145 (2016)
Courtesy of DOCUMENT, Chicago

Sterling Lawrence started his Gradient series in 2011. Residual Gaze of a Once Ritual Glow, Gradient 145 takes cue from the site-specificity of the CDN billboards which are intended to maximize advertisements for an audience within a given space—the image reads as an interruption to the daily content. Shifting context from the series of sweeping gradual gradients, into a tight series of successive gradations, this frequency compacts the image pushing it outward from the framing of the billboard—at once reminiscent of techniques used in painting to reveal form, and the fluorescent tubes used for backlit advertising


Substitution Play @Document Gallery Chicago IL. 2016 

“I have tried several times to think of an apartment in which there would be a useless room, absolutely and intentionally useless. It wouldn’t be a junkroom, it wouldn’t be an extra bedroom, or a corridor, or a cubby-hole or a corner. It would be a functionless space. It would serve for nothing, relate to nothing.

For all my efforts, I found it impossible to follow this idea through to the end. Language itself, seemingly, proved unsuited to describing this nothing, this void, as if we could only speak of what is full, useful, and functional.”

–George Perec, “The Apartment,” Species of Spaces


With Substitution Play, Lawrence deepens his inquiry into objects that crest the horizon of usefulness, casting their silhouette against the land of human interaction with things. Indeterminate and in flux, these objects embody elements of applied function—the forms and materials that tell you to pick something up, to put it in your home, to hang a jacket on it, or to use it to eat. And yet, Lawrence steers these directives toward other, less conclusive ends.  Working across sculpture, printmaking, textiles, painting and installation, Lawrence parses the vocabularies of use-value, breaking them down and recombining them within individual objects and across space. Where Perec’s contemplations of a useless space leave him at a loss for language, so do Lawrences’ works approach an unknown—the momentary inability to understand, or name, what you are confronted with. This tenuous, disquieting, and liberating encounter is one of the great potentials opened up by Sterling Lawrence’s work: the possibility of feeling into the emergence of a new relationship, with its own particular negotiation and evolution. For the object themselves, this is substitution play on another scale, where with each turn of imagination, they are cast in a new light.
Samantha Topol


Split Difference @ Jewelers Center at the Ballers Building 2015

Organized by Samantha Topol for Original Features, Split Difference presents the work of Chicago-based artists Dan Gunn, Sterling Lawrence, Arianna Petrich, and Min Song, whose work navigates a continuum between image, sculpture, and functional object. Situated in the landmark Mallers Building on Jewelry Row, the exhibition draws on the history of its context by exploring works that push and pull at the conventional boundaries of design and sculpture. While these artists depart from different training and concerns, their objects share a resistance to easy categorization. Their material handling challenges, expands, and frustrates the expectations of painting, sculpture and utility. All of the artists have produced new work, which will be exhibited here for the first time.


Form Without a Room @ Document Gallery Chicago IL. 2014

A collaborative project with Christalena Hughmanick uses rejected Burberry raincoat fabric in the form of moving blankets as a framing device. The photographic images housed within explore abstracts, a fragmented index of information from the beginning of known documented knowledge pertaining to surgical knots. Suspended knot braces become the support for sculptural clay forms, which are reminiscent of the body. Moving blankets deprived of their imagined utility have become the framing units for studies of surgical knots. These knots have three origins of intended use but the focus has been placed on how the knots hold a patient in position.


On Stranger Ways @ Scotty Enterprise, Berlin 06/2014

On Stranger Ways features Allison Wade, Volker Saul, Michael Pfisterer, Sterling Lawrence and Dan Devening; a group of artists from the United States and Germany affiliated with the Chicago gallery devening projects + editions. The show, much like the work presented, is an aggregate of carefully selected and loosely connected ideas and materials assembled into a logical whole. Within the work of each artist, we recognize a desire to order, to make sense of the stuff each finds as they navigate the world. Order is a good word; it suggests an imposition of will, a rightness of placement and context. It happens through the dichotomies and juxtapositions that occasionally occur in the work; at other times, form is separated from context to arrive at essential new properties. The material-based work reflects strategies inherent to how research, experimentation and consideration lead to a resolute position. The artists are collecting, documenting, isolating, distilling and displaying; they’re also applying very subtle and poetic moves to their process to reveal something newly discovered. On Stranger Ways feels like a loosely woven fabric; the fibers are distinct but the composition they create has a beautiful sense of order and completeness.


Forty-Six Bars With No Hooks @ Soloway Gallery, Brooklyn NY 2014 

Two Person Exhibition with Derek Franklin 

where one ray should fall ideas are compiled
beyond the reconciliation of a catastrophic dream
so that it might testify to that specific ray
with out any pre-established harmony
phantasm stabilized the potential for the vase
to be caressed and filled with hollowed perspectives
illuminating an extended rehearsal of
for the betterment of
which has a double purpose
in which they might not spend their time loitering in a city
of capital
but dispersed in the countryside of memory
For what are riches in their terms
coupled with the concern for private affairs
might cause them to not have the leisure to complicate themselves
among common things


Works published with Document for SCA Benefit 2014 included 10 works each in an edition of five. 2014


If I Plucked You from the Sea @ Devening Projects Chicago IL, 09/2013

In his first solo show with the gallery, Sterling Lawrence assembles a group of sculptural deliberations on the failed utility of assigned function. In works inspired by photographs found in design catalogs featuring the work of Vico Magistretti and Charles and Ray Eames, he tempers the utilitarian nature of each component and drifts into territory of a more uncertain kind. Composed as a schematic, the installation works together through interrelated displacements; meaning and use are altered through contextual shifts and formal disturbances. The constituent elements in this show are temporal and modular, but come with imbedded limitations of structure. The historical ubiquity of the sourced forms ground the work in the familiar; quickly the recognizable is upended by some unexpected maneuver. Installed off-kilter or sometimes reduced to only the facade of the original, the works are left as distorted perspectives, indicators only of the temporality of their existence. If I Plucked You From the Sea suggests that our relationship to necessary use, design and utility is utopian; the reality is something infinitely more unstable.


Kiosk @ Launch F18 NY,NY 2013

"Kiosk" is a social and interactive meeting point between ideation, declaration and audience. Like advertising kiosks and proclamatory banners used to promote events or consumer products—or seen historically in political contexts—Kiosk is a presentational array designed for both display and proposition. Riffing off exhibition and presentation theory, Dan Devening designed the focal point of the exhibition to scrutinize the disclosure and exposition of the works in the exhibition. The 7’ tall support structure features a central, vertical axis from which perpendicular arms project from each side. From those horizontal supports, works by 5 artists are attached and offered up for display and consideration. In most cases, the manifestation of an idea through a work of art is the primary intention of the artist; in this context it can only happen nearby, on top of and in close proximity to every other work in its proximity. As a result, the visual noise emanating from those other statements is continually in play with each work. There is specific and effective information communicated in the hanging pieces, but it’s experienced and contextualized within the concerns of several other, often conflicting positions. The shifting perspective that comes from walking around and through the Kiosk feels familiar—the media experience each of us encounter daily as we make our way through the world is a clear and direct referent. We see it on the streets: signage, billboards, traffic signals, walls plastered with graffiti and old handbills, all vie for our attention. With its own complex ability to distract and confuse, it also exists in a highly successful form in digital and television media. How we filter, focus and ultimately connect with just about any information—be it visual or otherwise—is a central concern of the exhibition and its particular system of presentation.

As a point of comparison, the exhibition includes a selection of works by each artist installed more traditionally on each wall. Using this opportunity to add complexity and clarity to the Kiosk selections, the work here stands on its own, detached from the structure and free of the constraints of its neighbors. The explicability of the wall works helps us recognize the privilege of autonomy, singularity and individuation. 


24 HRS/25 DAYS New Capital via Forever and Always 12/12

Two Person exhibition with Nick Bastis 

The exhibition 24HRS/25DAYS celebrates transformations, the work that all of us have yet to produce, and everything that is not yet known. 
The exhibition includes individual works, performances, classes, dinners, as well as other exhibitions, and many forms to be developed. The exhibition is curated through careful scheduling, but is open to the public for intervention. 
24HRS/25DAYS begins at 11:59 pm November 16, 2012 and will be open for 24 hours a day running through 11:59 pm December 12, 2012. During this time, the exhibition will flux continuously between preparations and presentations, while individuals flux continuously as artist, audience, curator/ dramaturge/ press/ pure being/ etc. 
Audience may visit anytime to view and/or participate in the process of the exhibition. We will be documenting the show as it evolves and transforms, all of which will be represented in its own chapter in the 2013 catalogue that documents the activity at NEW CAPITAL (and activity networked to NEW CAPITAL) over the past 2 years. 

Lie and Wait @ Tony Wight Gallery Chicago IL. 2011

Tony Wight Gallery is pleased to present Lie and Wait, Sterling Lawrence’s first solo

Existing between hand-finished and mass-produced objects, Sterling Lawrence’s recent
body of work includes large inkjet-print gradients and sculptural forms resembling furniture. 
The sculptures are reminiscent of furniture but deprived of their imagined utility: unplugged
lamps, empty tables and coat racks without coats. They alternate between formal sculpture
and furniture, between the attribution of meaning and the attribution of use, addressing the
definition of sculpture, its outward form and function.
Lawrence’s prints and sculpture create an absorptive environment. The gradients are printed
on backlit film traditionally used in transparency boxes. The translucent material shows the
color of the wall, imitates the banding of interior lighting and fills the nearby space with its
particular hue. The sculptures take the color of their environment while the prints fluctuate
between a backdrop and a potential image, projecting color out into the space, all with an
underlying tension: Where am I supposed to stand?

If the story ever had a start it might go like this:
The horizon is always receding.
Practice is like washing.
The more you practice the more you can see how much more you have to work.