How Man is Knit, Tim Hawkinson at Pace
In Tim Hawkinson’s show at Pace, his first in NY since his retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 2005, the emphasis is on skin. Through ingenious materials and inventive strategies, the barrier between the inside and the outside is explored. The high level of originality and presence here undermines the assertion that this work is somehow a varient of folk art.
“Foot Quilt,” a foot print recreated in silver polyester fabric and dacron batting, pulls one in to examine every crevice and crease. The large scale, 24” x 90”, makes the foot print appear as something other, while the material is a perfect artificial stand-in for skin.
5 sense collages combine photos to recreate orifices and the sense they provide. They show openings into the body while repelling one’s gaze, creating a visceral quesiness and anxiety over what lies within. “Scout,” an oversized Indian costume, with its exaggerated genitals and hands, is suggestive of an awkward and poignant experience of the body. While “Veil,” a large photocollage of receding tissues, each with its own gesture as its been pulled halfway out of the tissue box, has a ghostly aspect. It appears to be a sea of tombstones, referring to the body as its points to its absence.
Mechanical repetition and the relentless processes of nature are seen in “Deposition,” a large tree branch with a beaded chain moving up and down the branch, setting off a slide whistle. It feels like the artery of a tree laid bare and given a voice.
In other works, familiar images and objects are recreated in novel ways. “Untitled (Sunrise),” recreates the delicate light shift of the sunrise through a time-lapse photo that was digitally scanned. “Totem,” a stack of plastic containers covered with twine and paper mache, references Native American Indian art, but replaces animal figures with plastic containers that contain their own level of worship and reverance in our society as they look like gasoline containers.
The most evocative piece in this show is one that looks like a 3-D screen saver. “Gimbled Klein Basket,” a large basket woven with bamboo that hangs from the ceiling and revolves slowly, is based on a model of a 4-D space created by Felix Klein, a mathematician who conceived of this model in 1882. This model sums it all up as its form has an outside that turns back on the inside and back out again. Its a mathematical construction of the barrier between the visceral processes that lie within and the surface that contains it all and an attempt to describe the boundlessness of each.
Patty Harris WM, New York
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Patty Harris lives and works in Brookyn, New York.
She has been showing in New York since the mid 80s, as well as internationally. Recent shows include Exit Art and PS122. She has written for various downtown publications.