Deana Lawson takes photographs of strangers. She wants to highlight the aesthetics of Black identity and culture. It’s a “mythological extended family,” she explains. Many of her subjects remind Lawson of someone she’s met or known in the past. She selects them at random, perhaps on a street or in a café, and shoots the large-scale pictures in a choreographed setting, dictating lighting, decor, and pose. A textured carpet, patterned pillows, or an unconventional outfit creates scenes reminiscent of historical portraiture. “I describe it as time-stopping,” Lawson says. Some of the final products are embedded with holograms, which imbues them with hidden energy. Winner of the Hugo Boss prize in 2020, Lawson presents her splendid subjects in this solo exhibition. —E.C.
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