Out Putsch in the Capital

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Artist Michael Hawkins Overthrows the New Wellington Arts Centre Gallery 14 New Paintings and Screenprints on view from 13-22 September.

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Artist Michael Hawkins Overthrows the New Wellington Arts Centre Gallery
14 New Paintings and Screenprints on view from 13-22 September.Artist Michael Hawkins Overthrows the New Wellington Arts Centre Gallery
14 New Paintings and Screenprints on view from 13-22 September.Wellington artist Michael Hawkins, now based at the new Arts Centre's Studio 2, will present fourteen new works in the upcoming exhibition, Out Putsch. The public is invited to an opening reception on Monday 12 September from 5:30pm, and the show will be on view through 22 September.

"Putsch is a proclamation, to push out, to punch," says Hawkins, who explains his body of work as an alternative language, a different way of seeing, a visual way of re-writing narrative.

Hawkins has reduced words and objects to symbols as part of a highly stylised process. The pictures in Out Putsch, on view at the Wellington Arts Centre at 61 Abel Smith Street from September 13 to 22, are raw and allegorical.

Graphical, black and white imagery is used throughout to depict themes, both universal and personal. All of the images he presents are threaded with social and cultural dialogue €”yet all contain bizarre, seemingly arbitrary juxtapositions.

"This work, which has been completed over the past 18 months, explores relationships between sex, money, power and war," says Hawkins. "These are common undercurrents in my art."

Hawkins's pictures are filled with ethnographic references, and each seems to contain its own semiotic configuration of signs and directionals. The work in Out Putsch deals with how we process imagery, often through a glut of information channels and overloaded media outlets.

"Each picture is like an elaborate mechanical device, involving some secret alchemy," said Wellington City Council Arts Programmes and Services Manager, Eric Holowacz. "They are simultaneously simple and complex, and make reference to film, television, the web, lyrics, fairy tales, and scientific elements."

Hawkins's images are also connected, in metaphorical and stylistic ways, to the work of contemporary New Zealand artists Richard Killeen and Peter Robinson €”as well as to American graffiti artists Jean Michel Basquait and Keith Haring. Like some of their work, Out Putsch combines elements of the primitive with the urban, the archaic with the post-modern.

The public is invited to an opening reception for Out Putsch on 12 September at 5:30pm. The exhibition will be on view at the Wellington Arts Centre from 13 to 22 September.

Michael Hawkins can be reached on 021-135-9046 or m.hawkins@wellington-college.school.nz

For more information about Wellington Arts Centre or its gallery exhibitions, please contact Eric Holowacz on 04-385-1929 or arts@wcc.govt.nz

Written by

Eric Vaughn Holowacz

21 Sep 2005

Eric Vaughn Holowacz was born in Princeton, New Jersey and grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. He attended Irmo High School, and was a member of its National Championship academic Quiz Bowl Team in 1986.