Ted Lawson's first solo show in New York City is called "Aether," a word derived from ancient Greek mythology indicating the imperceptible expanse—often viewed in divine terms—that stretches above Earth.
The exhibition, taking place at Josée Bienvenu Gallery, reveals a spectrum of new sculptural works—each tinted blue. As an evocation of the aether, blueness—the color of oxygen—recalls primordial states, the suggestion of an atmosphere touching all parts of life.
It's from this angle that Lawson harnesses the concept of aether, wielding it as a means of exploring the myths lurking behind reality. In his "Effigy" series, abstraction becomes a means of camouflage, with structures manifesting fantastical creatures—from a spindly, twig of a satyr, cast in bronze; to the Minotaur's head traced with twining steel rope.
In a series of steel and aluminum wall-based reliefs dubbed "Labyrinth," the ridged surface texture conveys the formal dimensions of a gruesome architectural marvel: the storied labyrinth that Daedalus designed to contain the Minotaur—and where he was later imprisoned. Nearby, in Daedalus (Blue Robot #5) (2020) [pictured], a pair of robotic eyes embedded in a round mirror tracks passersby, merging techno-futurism with ghosts of antiquity. Here, Lawson has adapted industrial materials in rendering the twists and turns that lead to inevitable tragedy—an ending that's never in sight.
Ted Lawson, Daedalus (Blue Robot #5), 2020. Stainless steel, urethane, silicone, epoxy, computer parts, robot parts. 47 x 47 inches.