An artist’s work is particularly powerful when it embraces the other side of what many consider real time and space. Communication and reverence for supernatural beings is at the heart of life. Sometimes, the human form itself is transformed, becoming divine and omnipotent.
To me, Rocky Hawkins’ paintings explore the intersection between heaven and earth. His figures are spirits, simultaneously sending and absorbing messages. Composed with brushes and palette knives, Hawkins’ paintings constantly explore new spaces and concepts. His latest body of work, on exhibition at Altamira Fine Art through June 30th, includes large and small-scale works. In each painting Hawkins delves ever deeper into abstraction using bold strokes, a full array of color and superb composition.
The primary focus of these new works is a group of paintings—the “Portal Tracs” series. In each work Hawkins depicts rectangular shapes representing gateways into another dimension. Time is fluid. Geometric fields overlap and intersect, distinct but amorphous. It is Hawkins’ broad spaces—a vast universe—painted in above his figures that draw the viewer in. We are pulled towards clusters of riders, grouped and solitary figures. As you move through the exhibit, notice Hawkins’ use of numbers and letters in his titles. Each letter —T, R, A, C and S—refers to a form visible within the painting. The letters, together, spell “tracs.” I will tell you about the “U” shape, turned towards the heavens and connected to figures’ heads: it represents the unknown, and it reaches out “like an antenna, ready to receive new experience.”
Hawkins’ palette runs the gamut from electric to earthy. Every choice is correct. In this grouping of works there is something for everyone. The smallest canvases I saw measured 6 x 8″. These make wonderful collection starters and are as intensely wrought as Hawkins’ large canvases. “Portal Tracs.923U” measures 60 x 48″.
Hawkins also revisits his “Archer” and “Horse and Rider” series themes. They are as bold, sacred and intriguing as ever, and Hawkins is a master at depicting points of tension amidst rich, painterly strokes of color. As has been said, Hawkins is an artist choosing not to stay in one place for too long. www.altamiraart.com
The Cougar Fund, founded by wildlife photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen and Cara Blessley Lowe, hosts an evening of conversation at Mangelsen’s Jackson Hole gallery “Images of Nature” on Tuesday, May 28th, 7-8:00 pm. Ethologist Marc Bekoff, Ph.D, author of “Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals and Ignoring Nature No More,” Jackson’s own Ted Kerasote, bestselling author of “Merle’s Door” and “Pukka’s Promise,” and Rick Hopkins, Ph.D conservation biologist and consultant all join Mangelsen. Mangelsen, an internationally noted wildlife photographer based in Jackson Hole, is constant voice for all manner of conservation issues.
Cara Blessley Lowe will moderate. This a lot of content to cover in an hour, so don’t be late! “Images of Nature” is located at 170 North Cache Street, in Jackson. www.cougarfund.org www.mangelsen.com