Columbus native uses common items in extraordinary art ‘assemblages’

Artist Tiffany Lawson shows a piece of her collection titled “Nickel Bags of Funk.”

Artist Tiffany Lawson exhibits a piece of her selection titled “Nickel Bags of Funk.”

From humble components this sort of as brown paper luggage, plastic onion sacks, pillow stuffing, twigs and newspaper and magazine clippings, Tiffany Lawson results in collage will work that notify tales.

A person piece pays homage to the south Columbus neighborhood wherever she grew up. A single retells the Exodus story. And a further pays tribute to her mother as properly as a dozen other solid women.

All are on watch in “Contemporary Coloured: Paintings, Combined Media Artwork and Assemblages,” Lawson’s solo show of 28 operates at Ohio Condition University’s College Club. The exhibit is curated by Art Coordinator Lisa Craig Morton, who has been following the youthful artist’s will work for about 10 several years.

By day, Lawson works as a judicial assistant in the Franklin County Municipal Courtroom but at night time in her East Aspect residence, the self-taught 39-calendar year-outdated helps make art.

When she was a kid, Lawson’s mother ran an art application for youngsters at the Ohio Avenue United Methodist Church, bringing in African American artists this sort of as Aminah Robinson, Queen Brooks, Richard Duarte Brown and Gilda Edwards — all of whom, Lawson mentioned, motivated her.

“Around the Way, USA”  by Tiffany Lawson

“Around the Way, USA” by Tiffany Lawson

The identical type of shade, vibrancy and storytelling qualities that are popular in the operates of individuals artists can be observed in Lawson’s pieces, in particular her big, three-panel collage, “Around the Way, United states.” This lively street scene captures the neighborhood where she grew up with a selection of components — journal clippings, doll materials, tree twigs, acrylic paint and a base of brown paper luggage whose handles can be observed at each stop.

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“A Coogie Dream” (referencing a sweater worn by late rapper The Infamous B.I.G.) is a aspiration catcher designed from scraps of her mother’s handmade dolls and paired in the exhibit with a poem by Columbus author Scott Woods.

From a distance, “Quilts Are for People” seems to be like 3 panels from a serious quilt but near up, can be noticed to have been manufactured with discarded papers from the courthouse where by Lawson will work.

She designed “The Fruit Bearers” for an exhibit at the Roy G Biv gallery in which each and every artist was supplied a banker’s box to get started a perform. In a type having to pay homage to Gustav Klimt (“The Kiss”), Lawson filled hers with constructive portraits that reference the fruit bearers from Colossians 1:10.

"A Coogie Dream" by Tiffany Lawson

“A Coogie Desire” by Tiffany Lawson

The collage “What Da’ Manna” is a play on the Exodus tale with contemporary figures and a pun in its title.

Right after a passionate separation, Lawson utilized pillow stuffing and crumpled webpages of Baptist hymns to produce the hair and outfits of her diptych-like portraits “Grace + Mercy,” a do the job she said that reminded her not to become hardened.

In “Ruth’s Easter Pageant,” threads hook up the figures of a dozen women, such as Lawson’s mom. The piece honors the sturdy women’s commonalities and connections, traits that Lawson mentioned are crucial and dependable themes in her get the job done.

"The Fruit Bearers" by Tiffany Lawson

“The Fruit Bearers” by Tiffany Lawson

She also is familiar with how to have exciting with her subjects and elements. “Nickel Baggage of Funk,” as in the hip-hop song, is one of the couple of abstract pieces in the show — a vibrant assemblage of dryer sheets folded all over shredded paper and mesh vegetable baggage.

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And Lawson’s only oil portray below is “Time Capsule,” a rear perspective of a male torso with bare again, underwear and jeans hung below the midsection.

“I’m hoping to see the conclude of sagging pants,” Lawson reported. “If we place it on display screen, perhaps we can just leave it there.”

“Ruth’s Easter Pageant" by Tiffany Lawson

“Ruth’s Easter Pageant” by Tiffany Lawson

Lawson was the 1st artist selected for the Columbus Cultural Arts Heart residency the place she worked for a number of months in 2021. These days, she continues to get the job done at her residence studio, applying found and recycled merchandise that contain, of system, the brown paper luggage.

Such components, she reported, “enliven my function with a perception of practicality” and aid her to “capture the spirit of black everyday living.”

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At a glance

“Contemporary Coloured: Paintings, Mixed Media Art and Assemblages by Tiffany Lawson” continues as a result of April 29 at the Ohio Point out University School Club, 181 S. Oval Travel. Hrs: Several hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. For info, simply call Lisa Craig Morton at 614-309-0191 or visit

This write-up initially appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Artist Tiffany Lawson presents solo show at Ohio Point out Faculty Club

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