About the Artist

Biography and Professional Activity

James L. Lawton


Professor Lawton is the Co-Coordinator of the Sculpture Discipline at Michigan State University. In addition to teaching, serving in administration and exhibiting his work over the years he has always demonstrated a dynamic vision and passion for advancing the arts at MSU. He served as a curator and founded “The Kresge Art Store” on campus early in his career there, developed the first student gallery, and in recent years received two University grants to establish and direct the first Fringe Festival in 2005, followed by Art on the Edge and Beyond: MSU’s Fringe Events 2006-2007-- a series of live performances and lectures showcasing the diverse, interdisciplinary and multi-media arts of the global 21st century.

Professor Lawton’s research, international travels (to major contemporary exhibitions in Germany, France and Italy) and teaching informs his art and his interests in the changing role of art in the new millennium.

Over the years, Professor Lawton has served as a producer, curator, juror, visiting artist and has had solo and group, national and international, art exhibitions. He has been recognized in such publications as: The Sculpture Reference, Contemporary Techniques, Tools, Materials and Sculpture; Art in Detroit Public Places; Who's Who in American Art; American Artists in the Midwest; New York Art Review; Chicago Art Review; American Artist; The Centennial Review, Aesthetics and Ideology. His works are both in private and public collections: in the Asian American Art Centre of New York; outdoor sculpture in Detroit, Michigan; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, Michigan; Mason and Williamston Public Schools and City of Hartland (all three in Michigan) and in the Kresge Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing.


My artwork reflects my interest in political and social issues. Somewhat veiled, I create work to evoke meaning through the use of salvaged artifacts, other found materials and photographic images printed on acrylic, Mylar sheets, or etched in glass and sometimes making use of projected imagery. Visitors to my installations are participants who find fragments of times past as they search to understand a sometimes lingering history while moving forward into the future. The art experience entails remembering or contemplating these images and artifacts while passing around and through the space. This movement creates a new visual environment by casting shadows and shapes of ghost-like figurative imagery. The viewer participates by sensing and experiencing these forms and imagery along with their own associations and memories.

Selected images of my work can be found on the following website: http://www.jamesllawton.com

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