Karen Hawkins - Artist, 2014, photo credits mystatesman.com

Karen Hawkins/ Karen Hawkins

United States 1964

Sculpture

www.karenhawkinsart.com

Karen Hawkins
Karen Hawkins
Female
United States
1964
March 15, 2016

In the digital era, books seem to be on the very edge of their existence. Karen Hawkins’ work pays homage to books that are gradually disappearing. A passionate book lover since her childhood, Karen Hawkins is making art pieces of them. She is using the old ones, withdrawn from the libraries or sold for a dollar in discount stores and putting them in new, different context, striving to change the way people experience the books. They are becoming material and inspiration for her three-dimensional sculptured forms.

College yearbook pages became hanging columns of Totem pieces

Karen Hawkins - Totems (installation view, detail), 2014, copyrights Karen Hawkins
Karen Hawkins – Totems (installation view, detail), 2014, copyrights Karen Hawkins

Sculptural Transformation of Literal Content

Karen Hawkins’ work is derived from books. She uses dictionaries, black and white picture books to construct her sculptures, hanging pillars and wall pieces. Book content is nor relevant for her. She is adjusting them as objects in the common shapes from the everyday life. College yearbook pages became hanging columns of Totem pieces and small parts of paper cut from market paperbacks and rolled into tight scrolls made specific installations of Jellyrolls. Changing the structure of the book, Hawkins expands its physical properties. By cutting and folding it became a totally independent object of art. Totem installation consists of 14 pole-like sculptures hanging from the ceiling. Every pillar is 8 to 10 feet long, constructed from different geometric figures.

Karen Hawkins - Jellyrolls (detail), copyrights Karen Hawkins
Karen Hawkins – Jellyrolls (detail), copyrights Karen Hawkins

Brick by Brick

Besides rolling and inverting pages, Hawkins uses one more book technique, so-called book-bricks. Removing the covers and revealing the details of a book’s binding, she dips the bricks in wax and putting them in wooden frames. She created two collages in that manner, one in red, and the other in blue shades.

Karen Hawkins - Untitled red (installation view), 2014, copyrights Karen Hawkins
Karen Hawkins – Untitled red (installation view), 2014, copyrights Karen Hawkins

A Little Bit Different Biography

Hawkins is a book lover since her childhood days when she was visiting the bookmobile every week. And now, the books still have the same significance in her life, as an object of her artistic expression. Private collectors are starting to recognize her aim, commissioning biographical pieces, such as using sheet music for a musician or law books for a lawyer. In Hawkins work, the page is playing a different role. Wrenched from the literal context, it becomes the meaning of the past conveyed trough form.

Karen Hawkins is represented by The Cat Street Gallery.

Karen Hawkins lives and works in Detroit, United States.

Featured image: photo credits mystatesman.com
All images used for illustrative purpose only

YearExibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015TotemGallery Shoal Creek, Detroit, USsolo
2015The Suspended FictionLaura Rathe Fine Art, Huston, USduo