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ID number:  BIRRC-A0864
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Campus Collection of Fine and Decorative Art
Artist / Maker:  Lawson, Sonia (b.1934)
Title / Object name:  Guardian I.
Object type:  Painting
Date made:  1994
Materials:  Oil on canvas
Measurements:  152.4 x 121.9 cm

Guardian I and II with their vivid, poetic imagery, were conceived and planned as a pair to hang on either side of the staircase in University Centre, to mark the reopening of the Avon Room in 1994.

The figures in the painting - the head-like sentinel with beacon, the charioteer, the horse and rider, the bicycle - were developed by the artist as stalwart images of companionship and reliability, evoking ideas of permanence, faith and the continuum of time, past, present and future. The paintings contain hints of the strange, the exotic and the everyday, of strength and fragility, of dark and light, growth and change - a great variety of correspondences and oppositions that will always be the stuff of life.

Sonia Lawson, born in 1934 in North Yorkshire, is a distinguished painter whose work has been exhibited throughout the world. Her paintings are figurative, dwelling most notably on themes of myth, legend and literature. There is, however, a characteristically inventive twist in Lawson’s painting, in which time is displaced and narrative becomes clouded.

Above all, Sonia Lawson is a colourist, a worker of paint whose shifting planes of colour conjure mood and atmosphere. She sues heavy incisions in her grainy paint surfaces to define form and to create exciting visual textures.

She studied at the Royal College of Art and later became visiting tutor to the Royal Academy Schools for many years. She was elected a Royal Academician in 1982

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