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Professor Lawton is the Co-Coordinator of the Sculpture Discipline at Michigan State University. In addition to teaching and serving in administration over the years, Prof. Lawton has served in many capacities at MSU: founder of “The Art Store” and the first Student Gallery, Creating Inclusive Excellence grant recipient and Program Coordinator for MSU’s Fringe Festival 2005-2006 and Art on the Edge and Beyond: MSU’s Fringe Events 2006-2007 that has now evolved into the annual Guest Lecture Series, a series of live performances and lectures that showcase the diversity of the arts in an era of globalization and interdisciplinarity. Professor Lawton’s research, travels and teaching experiences in this country and abroad have added to his own awareness and insight into the changing role art plays in our society. These travels and professional experiences have taken him to various sites over recent years in this country with exhibitions and commissions as well as by invitation of the National Performance Network and by conducting research abroad of exhibitions such as the “la Biennale de Lyon” in Lyon, France; “Documenta” in Kassel, Germany; and “la Bienalle di Venezia in Italy. These experiences and opportunities have assisted him in offering Study Abroad courses in France and Italy.
Over the years, Lawton has received several grants and served as a producer, curator, juror, visiting artist and has had solo and group exhibitions at the national and international level with recognition and work included in selected publications: The Sculpture Reference, Contemporary Techniques, Tools, Materials and Sculpture; Art in Detroit Public Places; Who's Who in American Artist; American Artist in the Midwest; New York Art Review; Chicago Art Review; American Artist; The Centennial Review, Aesthetics and Ideology. And, in addition to having works in private collections, his works are also in the collection of the American Asian Society of New York, cities of Detroit and Hartland, Michigan, Western Michigan State University, Kalamazoo, Michigan, Mason and Williamston Public Schools in Michigan and the Kresge Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan.
In my recent work, I have continued to address a concern for political and social issues. I have been exploring the presentation of these issues veiled in remnants of salvaged artifacts. And, by the use of photographs and photographic images printed on acrylic, Mylar or at times etched in glass and even projected, I hope to instill in the participant a frozen moment in time in their search of the past. These images and artifacts are intended to foster a cognitive response when experienced in an installation as one passes around and through the work. The tangible elements but also the intangible--shadows that assume their own sense of being--help to create the experience. It is from this work and the free association one has with his/her own life experiences that one starts to understand the work and maybe their own presence. Real-life sensibilities will be called on to address and understand the encounter one has with these works as well as serving as catalysts in understanding the changes in the world around them.