Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Natasha Lawyer, The Sugarbowl, November 2008. REVIEWED BY ERIN CARTER

Hoping that it wasn’t too busy I walked into the Sugarbowl allowing a waft of freezing November air to blow in and caress the patron’s necks. Unfortunately it is busy and even more unfortunate I’m going to look a bit like a creep as I hover around other tables trying to get a look at Natasha Lawyer’s art. Lawyer won Vue Weekly’s create a street box competition last year and has done some illustration work for Vue as well. She graduated from the University of Alberta’s Fine Arts program. It looks like she’s been busy ever since graduation. The Sugarbowl’s warm room and dark walls are showcasing twenty to twenty five of Lawyer’s pieces.

Luckily the table I’ve chosen is shrouded with a collage of smaller works by Lawyer. There are about ten or so and almost all of them have to word "Sold" scraggled underneath the reasonably priced titles. As I look closer I notice almost every piece has a bit of print on it. “jesus is hugging the jeep.” is written on mixed media canvas of a black and white forest and a green sketching of a jeep with a few pink petals floating around. I don’t know why Jesus would hug a jeep, maybe Lawyer wrote it for dramatic effect, but I do know I like the looks of what’s going on in that painting.

I decide the most secretive non-creepy thing to do in this situation is to slowly make my way to the washroom and really stare at each painting as I walk by. It is ill fated that I’m closer to the Ladies (as I am a lady) washroom than the rest of the wall hangings in the Sugarbowl. I take a casual pace and hover over a gentlemen who is busy typing madly into his computer. He looks up and instead of looking at him I stare intently at “What am I looking for?” (Which is the title of a colorful busy collage piece done by Lawyer.) Sugarbowl is a hip type of place. What I mean by that is they play music that attracts a certain crew, they have specialty beers on the menu and affordable food and they’re located right by the University. The pricing and style of Lawyer’s art is a perfect fit for the Sugarbowl.

Lawyer has a diverse range of ideas working together on each painting. Lawyer's style is pop-art with subconscious undertones: for example colorful Chair-a-Chutes falling from a bright blue sky. There is thoughtfulness and a sense of humor throughout all of Lawyer’s images. I feel like she knows herself and what she likes leaving us with the evidence of a confident person on all of her canvas’.

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