For their first offering of the 2021 season, Hallwalls presents Re-Entry, a multi-faceted exhibition of new work by WNY artist Evan Hawkins. This series of altered photographs, sculptures, and installation began with a fascination centered around the similarities and disparities between the bottom of the ocean and the surface of the moon. Extreme environment, pressure, light, sound, inaccessibility, solitude, and even the tidal forces of the moon on the oceans led to a visual, psychological and existential exploration of the altered reality created by this juxtaposition.
Human beings are hardwired with a fascination to explore the unknown by pushing technology to its limits, and then pushing ever further. We pursue material and metaphysical answers to the questions we cannot resolve, in order to fulfill our desire to know our place in the world and, in a greater context, the universe. Some turn to science for answers, others seek them in the dogma of institutionalized religion. Evan Hawkins’ recent work is intended to create a disjunctive alternate reality which at a glance offers the suspension of disbelief but, when scrutinized, becomes more apparent that reality is not static.
Hawkins’ intention is not to ask the viewer to believe in the reality presented by the work, but to provoke them toward a manner of thinking that will question what reality is. This body of work is presented playfully as a way of instilling a sense of awe or wonder and to obfuscate the world. Ultra-realistic vistas are presented through obviously stage-crafted portals and viewing stations. Both are real and, being an overt art installation, as fake as possible.
Were the moon landings faked? Does it even matter if they were if we cannot know definitively? How much of our everyday lives is dictated by what we see and the judgments we make on the truth of this often-misrepresented world? This paradox is similar to the divergent ideas of creation—was it the result of a divine creator, or an explosion of matter radiating outwards at the speed of light from an infinitesimal singularity? As our understanding of reality evolves, we formulate truths, and in time, we come to believe we have the answers to these questions and curiosities.
We often choose to ignore a logical conclusion in favor of hope and wonder; truth and reality may be malleable and subjective, a shared mirage we run toward in the hopes of fulfilling some inner dream.