Secrets of the Universe: Tim Hawkinson, New Works
through March 30
DENK Gallery, Los Angeles
Written by Jacqueline Bell Johnson
Silver was the theme of the evening the night of DENK’s opening of new works by Tim Hawkinson. Primarily sculptural, these works reflect (both literally and metaphorically) the environment right in front of him, patterns from egg cartons become fantastical swords, a mother and child walking down the street becomes a Madonna. Though the path that leads to the visual outcome might not be so obvious, the humor and delight is not lost.
The artist uses sculpture as an opportunity to create scenarios to build diagrams, test theories, reconstruct pattern, mechanically mimic. That is the beauty here too. For Hawkinson, art making is an act of discovery of how things come to be, why they look like they do, and to offer contrast on what it the difference is between the beauty of life and the beauty of art.
Mirrored mylar is predominant in several works. Pure, perfect, and artificial, its high metallic sheen and reflective qualities distract and complicate, giving the viewer an overwhelmingly interactive experience. The structural pattern utilized by the works compiled with the negative space within and around, as each curve displays a moving image of the surrounding environment. The movement caught by the eye is a “slight of hand;” making the visual complexity tri-fold: the work, the space, the reflection.
Several drawings harness the artist’s power of collecting. Big sheets of white paper are covered with swirls made from a pen dangling on a string, perhaps contrived from benign office desk tchotchke. Hawkinson, however continues collecting this specific mark over and over creating a platform for contemplating the subtle variance and butterfly effect that changes the mark every time, the very nature of individuality. We are presented with a god-like view of the infinite, a collection of grains of sand, of stars, of people. This idea is made more concrete in its presentation: hung on a vinyl sheet covered stack of wood planks as if this part of the universe is still being constructed.
Metal solvent cans have been cut open to create a box chain, both its scale and execution a rebellion against the modernist craft that this type of work may be expected to reside. Found draping over a partition that leads to the gallery’s upstairs office, the sculpture demonstrates its functionality while leaving the viewer wondering for whom it was made.
Several torso forms can be found around the gallery, most notably a roughly hewn plaster form with dimples all over: Eggshell Torso (Asteroid). It looks as though cast from some giant-sized bubble wrap. The artist discloses his technique subtly “Asteroid” in combination with eggs leaves the viewer imagining the explosive removal of the mold as eggs crack and ooze all over
Hawkinson’s work considers the existential; through material, method, and inspiration he demonstrates the connections we all have. The largest lesson to be learned from viewing his work is that understanding of the universe comes from the view right in front of you, even if its just from the pile of junk in your garage.