Typically incorporating diverse household and industrial materials, and often mechanized to emit sound, evoke breath, or record the passage of time, Tim Hawkinson's art links form, process, and meaning. He frequently uses his own body as a source and subject. Fabricating most of his own conceptions using do-it-yourself technologies, Hawkinson undermines the preciousness of art while reasserting its virtuosity. In his relatively short but prolific career, he has produced paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, kinetic sculptures, fountains, rubbings, and assemblages.
Each of Hawkinson's singular works employs a medium or mechanical system devised to solve a particular problem or play out a specific idea. A consistent investigative rigor, like that of a scientist, underlies this endless variety, exposing his subjects to measurement, fragmentation, reconfiguration, inversion, wordplay, and a host of other strategies. Within the universe of Hawkinson's art, each small part is a microcosm of the whole and everything is interconnected--the fingertip of a hand miraculously sprouts another hand, a doodle morphs into a map, and the pens used to make it become a sculpture of a severed finger. The result is simultaneously trangressive and transformative, yielding unexpected ways of knowing the world beyond its normal boundaries.
Based in Los Angeles, Hawkinson received an MFA degree from the University of California in 1989. In 2006, the Getty Museum commissioned four works by the artist for inclusion in the exhibition, Zoopsia: New Works by Tim Hawkinson, presented in conjunction with the West Coast debut of Hawkinson's Überorgan, a massive, music-playing sculpture of balloons and horns installed in the Museum Entrance Hall.