Charting the Depths of Inner Geography:
A Preview of “Blind Insights”
Blind Insights is a series of collage-based work that continues a trajectory of ideas from Hopkins' earlier wall sculptures, while also marking an evolutionary shift in scale and materials. For Hopkins, the intimate scale of collage is emblematic of contemplation:
"Collage provides an analogous process of "breaking down" and "piecing together" the bits of information we call reality".
On an intuitive level, these individual pieces seem to resonate like "feedback loops" between the artist and life as a creative journey. How we make sense of it all, literally, resides just below the surface -- an "inner world" of visceral feelings and insights.
In addition to its' smaller scale, Blind Insights employs a more painterly approach through its' collaged layering of gouache on paper, and colors that suggest aerial or satellite photography. Even the use of irregular planar-shapes hint at shifting geological surfaces and tectonic plates.
At the same time, Hopkins' use of wood skewers, literally, extends the work into the realm of sculpture, with various allusions to architectural and archeological structures. The overall impression of these hybrid-forms is that of a restless energy, in which they are seemingly morphing from one guise into another -- from one emotional terrain to another.
Surfing the Waves of Creative Chaos:
A Preview of "Cornucopia"
Cornucopia is a series of watercolors that feed off Hopkins earlier wall sculptures, yet, as a transition from one medium to another, feels less restrained by formal boundaries. According to Hopkins:
"I am especially eager to exploit the fluid energy of water in its' "wet-on-wet” approach and to exercise a more gestural spontaneity through the mediums' intrinsic immediacy."
Unlike the wall sculptures of Hopkins's Circadian Loop series, which "leap" directly from the wall into three dimensional space, these watercolors "embrace" the two dimensional surface of cold press paper and come alive by soaking into the very fibers of its' 100% cotton ground. By harnessing the fluid energy of water and allowing it's spontaneous effect on watercolor washes, Hopkins is literally riding the waves of "creative chaos".
As the series title implies, Hopkins envisions this work as "tapping into a cornucopia of creative energy and improvisation." Qualities that Hopkins pushes to the brink in Beijing through the use of multiple layers — experimental washes that also seem to parallel the cultural layering of assimilation. Indeed, their micro-biological appearances even seem to suggest the immersive nature of such assimilation.
Finally, when stepping back to view Cornucopia as a whole, one can also see a certain affinity with Hopkins's drawing series, Inner Navigations. If his drawings suggest a field-guide quality, these watercolors evoke a lighter version of Rorschach inkblots — a playful invitation for probing the viewer’s imagination.
Mixing Loops from the Big Bang:A Preview of "Syncopations"
Syncopations is a series of free form collages that literally feed-off the discarded remnants of Hopkins’s experimental watercolor series, Cornucopia. In re-contextualizing their energy into fluid strands of pulsing colors and syncopating rhythms, Hopkins states:
“I am inspired by the “big-bang” origins of circadian rhythms and the creative energy of natural forces — a cosmic dance of ever evolving syncopations.”
Hopkins’s process of recycling discarded watercolors by cutting them into new shapes, and mix-and-matching them in new arrangements, provides Hopkins with a rich source for improvisation. Their sense of exuberance also suggests, at times, the theatricality of shadow puppets, and at other times the playfulness of children’s illustrations — a story telling quality that dramatizes their musicality, as if they are literally dancing and moving in perpetual motion.
If their swirling lines and evocative shapes suggest stringed-beads, they may likewise be interpreted as prayer-beads. As Hopkins acknowledges, there is an underlying sense of transience and mortality in their cyclical bursts of energy — jubilant metaphors for life as a dance unfolding in the rhythmic passages of time. In Hopkins’s vision, the resurrection of cast-off pieces into new forms celebrates the power of creative energy and the mystical flow of “life and death” as evolving syncopations.
See Syncopations Gallery. (Coming soon.)
Scanning for Shades of Meaning on the Wall:
A Preview of “Wallscapes”
Wallscapes is a series of digital photographs of “hutong” walls in Beijing that document the remnants of grey paint used in covering up graffiti and advertising. As Hopkins acknowledges, this project generates a bifurcated series of work — black and grey originals, along with digitally “saturated” versions.
”I enjoy using an “infra red” approach — in which the digital camera allows me to take value temperatures of any given image, and then accordingly adjust their warm and cool colors.”
Hopkins first used this process in his Mirrorscapes work.
In his Wallscapes series, such color-saturation often results in final images that appear more painterly than photographic. It also invites the viewer to stop and explore a visual landscape that would ordinarily go unnoticed.
Indeed, Hopkins’s Wallscapes enjoy playing with art historical notions of abstract painting and the picture plane as a wall-like surface, with nodding allusions to Arte Povera and Cy Twombly. At the same time, these works demonstrate an eye for texture that have characterized much of Hopkins’s work over the years.
See Wallscapes Gallery for prices and sizes. (Coming soon.)