Chris Hawtin (born Ely 1974) is a British artist. His work, both in concept and aesthetic, addresses the idea that we live in the age of technological acceleration. His work evolves through the use of painting, sculpture and technological applications to create forms which end up as techno-organic hybrid structures, perhaps vessels or cities, perhaps conscious entities, which constitute an alien intervention into a more traditional language of art. Due to the intervention of these forms, what might be read as traditional landscape paintings appear as post-apocalyptic landscapes, atmospheric and unsettling, with the question remaining as to what these alien entities are, and what their purpose is. What might be read as a traditional portrait has strange techno-organic features, asking if this is a mask or a depiction of some alien form. There is a persistent questioning of territory in his work, whether it’s in the depicted landscape or the nature of tradition in the mediums he deploys.
Referring to his work as history paintings of the future, Hawtin’s work plays with narrative and story-telling, with the works appearing to be fragments of a larger story which is being uncovered with the reveal of each work. Retaining the sense of mystery and ambiguity his work revolves around the eight characters he calls The Metics (a term used by the ancient Greeks to denote someone who is allowed to remain in the city state but can never be a part of it). These characters evolved initially from heads made from toys, which appeared in his paintings, and over time evolved into fully fledged characters, with names and attributes, as an anti-pantheon of pathetic representatives of forms alienation in the 21st century. These characters have weaved in and out of his work, including in songs, with musician Mark Burgess as Red Horses of the Snow, and in stories accompanying exhibitions, and constitute a method of mental organisation for the artist and a developing narrative for the viewer, as if archaeological evidence of a past civilisation were being uncovered.
He has divided his time between London and Athens, and Greek history and culture has had a strong influence on his work, from the creation of the characters to the sense of archaeology in the unveiling of the fragmented narrative elements. Hawtin now lives and works in Athens.
Chris Hawtin’s work has been widely exhibited both nationally and internationally in solo shows and group exhibitions. His work is in the Saatchi collection in London and private collections worldwide.
1999 Chelsea College of Art and Design, London
1995 Northbrook College, Worthing
Born 1974, Ely, Cambridgeshire, England
Lives and works in Athens, Greece
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