"A lot of my pieces are about the trials and tribulations of this one pathetic character," says Lawrence Seward, describing the bungling, lanky klutz who keeps popping up in his work. Unfortunately, the figure -invariably donning a white T-shirt, blue jeans and Pumas -happens to refer to the artist himself. For Seward and his subject, life appears to be a never-ending series of incomprehensible discoveries, astonishing pitfalls and overrated banality. "People always talk about the sublime beauty of nature," he says. "But sometimes I sit there and think, a sunset is just another sunset." A surfer dude originally from Hawaii, Seward has a tendency to speak as if he's scratching his head. But sorting through this perpetual state of confusion, his largely autobiographical sculptures nonetheless capture disorientation with humor, cleverness and clarity. Although he's undeniably tragic, you can't help but find the white T-shirt guy endearing. He's prone to accidentally dismembering himself and falling flat on his face, and he has appeared with his head literally on backwards. In 1998 Seward unveiled The Gates of Hell, a tongue-in-cheek take on the doors Rodin designed for Paris's …cole des Arts DÈcoratifs in 1880. On two blacks panels, a crowded field of the little guys squirm and
writhe, wrestling helplessly in comic horror with the inevitability of their eternal damnation. For his upcoming show at New York's Andrew Kreps Gallery, the Manhattan-based artist has returned to his native Hawaii. On a series of sculpted islands, on which volcanic mountains and dramatic waterfalls are rendered in travel poster style, Seward's alter ego slips and trips. In fact, Seward makes you think about growing up in
Hawaii, where attempts at a normal upbringing are tainted by grass skirts, ukuleles and the camera-wielding suburbanites who can't get enough of them. One of the signposts placed on his island sums it up: "You were right, I regret this."
The Exhibition will be on view, from May 17 - June 16, 2001. A reception will be held for the artist in the gallery May 17th, from 6-8pm at 516 West 20th St., New York. For information call 212-741-8849.