Untitled (Bubbles) is produced by a marker with a ball-bearing tip, which is drained and refilled with a new color of acrylic paint, layered one atop another. While outward appearances suggest a painting (and the canvas substrate reinforces this) the implement resembles a ball-point pen used in drawing. The results are precise linear marks, that cross the entirety of the surface, appearing like a topographic map—an abstracted surface with intimations of turning into something recognizable. The colors and texture of the work resembles hand-dyed fabric, akin to the low-resolution imagery of a woven rug. In this way, the form and content echo the hybridity of its production. Untitled is the result of collaging layers of imagery in the computer, before sending coordinates to the plotter which renders it, with some manual intervention of the canvas during the process. Natan Lawson thinks of the process as related to a computerized jacquard loom, where colors are woven and layered.
After receiving a BFA in Painting, from RISD, Lawson returned to his home city of Baltimore to live and work. Lawson makes all of his artwork with a computer controlled plotter originally designed to cut vinyl, which has been modified to produce marks with a variety of implements. Producing hybrid artworks at the intersection of drawing and painting, Lawson’s work resides at another intersection, between hand-made and computer processed. While he continues to experiment with new instruments (paint brushes, felt tip markers, airbrush etc.), the linear-fill of color across the surface is akin to his past work with silk-screen printing, often layering many colors to produce a unique final work. Lawson uses found imagery, which is scanned and edited in digital form. The images are reused and recombined in shifting scales and color palettes, to produce a series of variations, and iterations, each unique despite formal and aesthetic echoes.