Or gaping in awe. Entertaining (humorously, intellectually and formally) as it can be, Hawkinson's work channels a more deeply joyous and terrible creative current than is dreamt of in Artforum's philosophy. From the underlying devotional interrogation of the human body in all his work to the integration of a fractal model of chaotic dynamic flow (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_attractor) into the mundane objective structure of a bicycle (Track, 2009 — an obvious reference to the speculative ruminations of the Irish philosopher De Selby), Hawkinson's work is shot through with a spiritual electricity rooted in — and marveling at — the utter improbability of existence.
Improbability is also the watchword as it regards the latest development in Hawkinson's bag of tricks: painting. He has always dabbled, but two impressive large-scale works on paper — Cylinder Composition and Snails (both 2010) stake out new, characteristically characteristic avenues of visual experiment. The cylinders are rendered with precise illusionism out of stenciled areas treated with a sloppy but controlled ink spatter. The snails have left behind a wonky grid of slick iridescent paint. While they bring to mind such substantial painting talents as Francis Picabia and Larry Poons on their apparent strengths alone, there remains a gizmo-rific backstory to both pieces. Cylinder Composition was painted with a dysfunctional weed-spray bottle and a mechanically customized toilet brush, while Snails depended on carved-foam stamps and application of plastic wrap for the alien organicism of its surface. Seems you can take the boy out of the mad-scientist lab but you can't take the mad-scientist lab out of the boy. Thank God!