Deana Lawson

Deana Lawson

Fellow: Awarded 2013
Field of Study: Photography

Competition: US & Canada

Princeton University

Deana Lawson is a photo-based artist born in Rochester, New York.  Her work examines the body’s ability to channel personal and social histories, addressing themes of familial legacy, community, romance, and religious-spiritual aesthetics.  Her practice borrows from simultaneous visual traditions, ranging from photographic and figurative portraiture, social documentary aesthetics, and vernacular family-album photographs. Lawson is visually inspired by the materiality of black culture and its expression as seen through the body and in domestic environments. Lawson meets her subjects in everyday walks of life: grocery stores, subway trains, busy avenues in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, or on road trips taken to the Deep South. Careful attention is given to lighting and pose, both formal constructs used to transform, inform, and intensify representations of power and liberation through the personal and intimate space.

Deana Lawson received her M.F.A. in Photography from RISD in 2004. Among the venues where her work has been exhibited are Yancey Richardson Gallery, New Photography 2011 at Museum of Modern Art, Greater New York at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Studio Museum in Harlem, Cohan & Leslie Gallery, Collette Blanchard Gallery, and Artists Space, all in New York City; Rhona Hoffman Gallery in Chicago, Light Work Gallery in Syracuse, New York, Print Center in Philadelphia, and Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta. In Europe, both Helene Bailly Gallery in Paris and the KIT Museum in Dusseldorf, Germany, have showcased her photographs. Lawson is the recipient of the Art Matters Grant, John Gutmann Photography Fellowship, Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant, Aaron Siskind Fellowship Grant, and a NYFA Grant in 2006. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The Collector’s Guide to New Art Photography (Vol. 2), Time Out New York, Contact Sheet #154, and PQ Journal for Contemporary Photography (Volume 24).  Deana has participated in a number of residencies, among them 2010 Workspace Residency at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Light Work, and Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York.  Deana currently lives and works in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and teaches at Princeton University.

Image: Self-portrait by Deana Lawson.

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