Oil on copper
36 x 12 inches (91.4 x 30.5 cm)
Signed lower left: Hawk
Acquired from the artist
New York City born Richard Hawk enjoyed a demanding career as a communications and advertising designer for fortune 500 companies and universities before moving to full time fine art in the early 2000’s. He has been awarded for his ground breaking paintings with numerous shows exhibiting on both coasts including his home studio base in San Diego, California. Prolific and international in focus, his highly celebrated works of oil on copper can be found in many collections around the world.
One art investment broker remarked that “Hawk has achieved something truly novel and his artwork will stand the test of time as being the first person to develop this technique, style and approach to a blank surface. There are followers and there are leaders, and Richard Hawk falls unquestionably into the latter.”
In the beginning, explorations into the use of copper as a substrate for paintings were experiments. Success upon success with his signature marriage of copper and paint led to devotion to the metal, now an intrinsic part of his work. The reason, says Hawk: a dynamic, active surface. “It glows with life,” he says, “and the painting morphs as light changes during the day. Just walking past it reveals new layers and voices each time.”
Hawk welcomes co-creation with the forces of nature into his artworks through oxidation (patina) processes; masterful brushwork in the tradition of oil painting launches the works into new territory.
Interwoven throughout his work are themes of humanity, nature and science. Hawk’s figurative works question the future with echoes of the past; heroines and heroes hinting at things to come or dreams remembered. In the meditative abstract pieces, geometric shapes confer order upon labyrinths of rich organic detail.
A Richard Hawk painting is a soul-soothing, brain-teasing homage to the artist’s alchemy of copper-as-canvas. “The infinite and the ephemeral coexist everywhere,” says the artist, “Here too in these paintings.”
Poppies have a striving quality, with their long, squirming stems. It’s as if they are reaching for the sky. They seem somehow active, though stationary. This paradox has always drawn me to them, and in season I have a few pots full on my deck,to complement those that grow all over Southern California.
I’ve always admired things vertical in general. The extreme vertical rectangle as a format for art is something I encountered and immediately loved when studying ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints (the vertical ones are ‘pillar prints’ or hashira-e).
The darker patina background of the copper sheet is a fine foil for the greens and blues of the leaves. The line work and the pot are created by laying down a lacquer resist on the pure copper prior to the patina-producing stage.
The organic looking stems of the poppies in this work also tug toward a recognition of them as copper wires.