press release

Greene Naftali is proud to present Richard Hawkins’ first New York solo exhibition in almost a decade. Hawkins is known as an aesthetic shape-shifter whose works over the past 15 years have ranged from cut-up Halloween masks, Hollywood hunk collages, Chinese porno lanterns, celebrity autographed books, digitized severed heads, card table bonseki sculptures and, most recently, paintings, both figurative and non-representational. What connects these myriad forms are their “psychoanalytic reflections on the interrelationship of individual desire and the images rolled out on the production lines of the culture industry.” *

Hawkins continues his exploration into the morally and politically ambiguous area of gay sex-tourism with this most recent body of large-scale paintings and works-on-paper. The artist finds precedence for painting’s particular ability to portray subcultural scenes through sensual affect (celebratory color, seductive facture, the play between different levels of abstraction) through such wide-ranging inspirations as Lautrec, Otto Dix and Reginald Marsh. With an exoticist flair, Hawkins mines the blacklit gogo bars, strip clubs and cheap hotel rooms of Southeast Asia for an indulgent look into the whisky-primed adult playgrounds where youth and beauty cross paths with western pension plans and retirement accounts. Hawkins has called the new paintings “hallucinations from a Viagra overdose.”

* Farquharson, Alex, “Different Strokes,” Frieze, March 2006

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Richard Hawkins