MATTHEW HAWKES: Biography

"Born in 1969 in Rustington, West Sussex, this self-taught artist grew up in England. It was while he was at Manchester University studying Philosophy, Religion and Politics that a painter friend showed him some German expressionist paintings in reproduction. Captivated by the hitherto unsuspected possibilities of painting he straightaway bought a painting set and started to copy works from books. Soon M.H. started composing his own paintings and, not being able to afford canvas, painted on whatever came to hand: paper, cardboard, boards. Two joint exhibitions followed shortly on.

"Moving on to study at Warwick and then Cambridge, his artistic interests continued to evolve, particularly in the direction of the portrait in charcoal using a surrealist derived automatic drawing technique. Friendship with musicians at Cambridge led to a concert at which he projected images accompanying and analyzing the music on screens behind the orchestra.

"In 1993 he left university and went to live in London where he committed himself to his work as a painter. From this period, M.H. lived by selling at privately organized exhibitions at the end of each year. In 1997, he attended the portrait classes of  Desmond Healey, whose philosophy of work was very close to his own. He also studied at the National and Tate Galleries both minutes from where he lived.

"M.H.'s practice has always been rooted in the search for the most direct realisation of experience, and at around this time he felt that this meant that he needed to paint outside. His occasional trips to the Sussex countryside or a friend's house in the Pyrenees were not enough. So, in 1999 he moved out of London and went to stay in the flat of one of his collectors in Albi in south-west France where he was able to work outside all the time. The annual private sales in London continued with collectors contributing a weekly sum that funded his stay in France.  

"In 2006 M.H. returned to London where he has set up a portrait practice." D.B.


 

 

 

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