Levi Hawken + Lee Ralph
TIMEPIECE - An Exhibition
Sep 21, 2013 – Sep 31
One Show. Two Maverick Artists !
Timepiece represents a new series of paintings by Levi Hawken, and sculptural works by Lee Ralph in a collaborative study of the nature of time. As Ralphʼs work emerges from the traditional carving of Pou, and Hawkenʼs paintings transcend his past graffiti style, we witness an underlying preoccupation with the classification of status, and a comment on the context of art in our contemporary reality.
Evolving with the desire to reach a new artistic existence Hawken and Ralph have pushed the boundaries of what their art forms traditionally represent. Through their individual making processes a visual tension is created using opposing aesthetic forces. The artistic relationship leading up to this exhibition has been one of counter influence. Both artists share the common bond of a history in professional Skateboarding and through an almost intuitive and instinctual exchange of ideas, these new works have emerged from their unorthodox experiences with meticulous intricacy.
Although Hawkenʼs art is now removed from any graffiti style, itʼs influence still remains. The paintings are a conceptual narrative of the struggle presented to artists working with the internal constants of this subculture, and the ongoing social revolt that comes with being a part of the graffiti movement.
Hawkenʼs process slows in time through the dismissal of spray enamel, in exchange for paint and brush. He uncovers the manifestation of control verses spontaneity and a removal of the urgency that once surrounded his art. The strong and architectural elements are a representation of the symbols and forms from previous works. Schematic in composition they form a relationship between the parts like a system of static mechanical movements. An aesthetic conflict is also revealed through different techniques of ʻhard edgeʼ hand rendered lines and expressionist use of paint beneath the surface layers. It is through this process of layering that the battle with censorship, rebellion and removal of this art form is represented.
The exhibition is presented on a backdrop of contextual landscapes that remind us of the shift of street art from the concrete jungle to interior grandeur, and the classification of traditional art forms as fine art or artefact. These contextual suggestions bring forth the question of contemporary art and itʼs place in our environments; historical and of the moment, public and private.
Artist Statement - Timepiece
From a distance the colour fields suggest a hard edged style through the use of flat colour and the abrupt transition between shapes. On closer inspection, the delineated forms reveal their translucency, fraught through the layering, removal and re-application of paint. The forms are suspended in an empty plain to amplify movement, creating a performance in space as the shapes weave through the asymmetrical labyrinth. The surrounding ‘emptiness’ is used to reconcile the aesthetics of organic and inorganic form, and the balance between positive and negative spatial realities.
The strong verticality, abrupt truncation of biomorphic curves and stylized arrows shadow Levi's past graffiti style, while the subsequent removal of spray paint slows the explosive nature of Graffiti, and in turn, allows the inclusion of brush marks, ridges and drips. The colours cloaked in grey, green and white buff (the colours of graffiti removal paint) are applied in thin, roughly applied coats, allowing the ghosts of underlying marks and colours to reveal themselves beneath the surface. The impasto texture emerges as the consumption and production of paint build in the angst to remain where they are, with all that is hidden underneath. This process of layering represents the battle with the censorship, revolt and removal of this art form.
With this series, even more so than the works in 'Wilful Damage', Levi has pressed the issues of the removal of his art from the constraints of the graffiti movement and document his views and frustrations with and art form now absorbed in popular culture. These works express a commentary on the stalemate between public art, it’s censorship and removal, and pay homage to the artworks now trapped in layers of paint on the walls, both public and private, in our cities and towns. It is Levi's objective to make an artistic example of the collective beauty and tragedy that this ‘loss’ presents.
AUG 12 - 22
Levi Hawken will hold his solo exhibition Wilful Damage at None Dunedin. The exhibition will open on August 12th, 2011, with an artist reception open to the public from 6 to 8 PM. This exhibition will present the artist's latest works on canvas. These new works further explore contradictory ideas seen in earlier works, revealing the unresolved dynamic elements within contradictions through repeated depictions of their primal states.
24 Stafford Street