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“Found Materials” by Rosalind Lawless the Upstairs Gallery Inverness Mon 10 Feb – 27th March

UPSTAIRS is an open access gallery space within the offices of HRI | Munro Architecture in Inverness. Ascend the tenement stairwell; steps sunken with the footfall of centuries, stones that have absorbed the traces of a thousand ordinary journeys. It seems a fitting context for artwork that encourages us to examine the unseen; the traces of processes and the ordinary spaces that envelop our vital functionality.

Rosalind Lawless is an award-winning artist with work in permanent collections at Stirling university, Aberdeen Art Gallery and Pallant House Gallery and Museum in Chichister. “Found Materials” represents the beginning of a new direction for the artist. A clearing out of established practices and forms to enable an authentic interrogation of the creative process. Through “Found Materials” Rosalind Lawless explores how and when the artist arrives at the image. She deconstructs the moment when fragments of environment, object and experience come together and resonate; become important. A process she describes as “making within the found, or the found within the making.”

Through careful consideration of the familiar the artist celebrates the unseen. “When you stay in one place you don’t see it anymore,” she explains. Therefore; the physical departure and subsequent return to places, processes and materials are significant in this work. She describes noticing a detail in the Paris Metro on the last day of a trip with students. A moment of tonality and texture that was the only photograph she kept, knowing that it could be important. Another moment when she was clearing out to make space for new work. Ripping up old prints, folding heavyweight paper for recycling; artworks that had become invisible began to reconfigure as new objects. Passages of positive and negative space; tonally and texturally resonant of the detail found in the Paris Metro. Through this commitment to the artistic process in all its facets, Rosalind Lawless emphasises the significance of everything the artist does, within and without their practice. “What you do externally is important as it feeds into your practice. I could be reading a book and just two lines might relate and clarify my printmaking. Looking at the positive and negative spaces was instilled from art school. What happens to the space left behind? Can it be important? Sometimes it is very important.”

The works themselves have a lightness and vitality that belie the experience and technicality of the artist. Bright, floating objects moving out of the frame, on their way to becoming sculpture. Composed of fragments; sketches, fabric, steel and print; each detail carries its own physically embodied narrative, its own history. These are windows into the process that precedes them while simultaneously stepping outwards into something new. Exhibited here in the Upstairs Gallery, architects models can be glimpsed through doors left ajar. These objects and settings are too resonant to ignore, so they become new horizons for the artwork. It seems inevitable that a new configuration is emerging and that these works, sourced from the architectural space are destined to become something more physical, even immersive. Through a refreshing and honest approach to Printmaking, Rosalind Lawless shines a light on an often unseen moment in the creative process. The crepuscular moment between two states, a departure from the old before fully arriving at the new.

As well as being a practicing artist, Rosalind Lawless teaches at Glasgow Print Studio, Glasgow Clyde College and guest teaches at Highland Print Studio.

“Found Materials” will be exhibited at the Upstairs Gallery from Mon 10 Feb until Fri 27th March 2020.

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