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ART REVIEW : Hawkins’ Latest on Male Desire: Decorative, Not Edgy

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SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

At Richard Telles Fine Art, Richard Hawkins proceeds with his very agitated, sometimes embarrassingly personal and presumably cathartic exegesis of male desire.

Hawkins is well-known for his collages, which tangle high and low in a stunning miasma of want. His imagery is taken from fashion magazines and gay male pornography, often covered with yellow Post-it notes and studded with arcane references to Proustian dandies.

Hawkins’ new work consists of digital prints that combine computer-generated abstractions (oozing, biomorphic forms in Day-Glo colors or frantic rows of stripes) with video capture images of two adolescent male movie stars: the long-haired and vulnerable Wiley Wiggins from the recent film “Dazed and Confused” and the long-haired and hunky Matt Dillon from “Little Darlings,” a 1980 movie in which Tatum O'Neal and Kristy McNichol battle it out for our hero.

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These works maintain Hawkins’ collage aesthetic, although as digital prints, they eschew the handmade quality that lent such poignancy to his earlier efforts. The effect, in any case, is somewhat like a time-, gender- and art direction-warped issue of Tiger Beat, cut up and spread out across a confused teen-ager’s wall. Here is ‘60s psychedelia with a ‘90s rave flavor; the resuscitation of a pan-sexual icon of the ‘70s; a contemporary vision of an earlier generation’s sort-of-cute-doper-misfit (with glitter lipstick and/or black eyes digitally provided by Hawkins); and the ubiquitous pixilation of video-fabricated desire--gay, straight or otherwise.

The whole might well be edgy if it weren’t so decorative. It is nice to see Hawkins move in different directions (at least in formal terms); but this work seems to be missing something crucial. It feels less substantial than we have come to expect from this fine artist.

* Richard Telles Fine Art, 7380 Beverly Blvd., (213) 965-5578, through April 29. Closed Saturdays and Sundays.


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