Opening at Rawson Projects, September 21st

18 Sep



 Reception for the artist: Sunday September 21, from 6 – 9 P.M.

September 21 – October 26, 2014


Rawson Projects is very pleased to present its first exhibition at the gallery’s new location in the Lower East Side with painter Halsey Hathaway opening Sunday, September 21, 2014.

This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery. Hathaway holds a MFA from Hunter College (2006), where he was awarded the Tony Smith award. The artist is a fellow in painting from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2010).

A conversation between Rawson Projects and the artist follows.

Rawson Projects: There is a visible complexity to the multi layered construct of your paintings and I was wondering if you could talk a little about the process you use in creating these works. In particular, there is such precision in the lines bounding each shape and variation in texture, yet simultaneously the whole has an active sense of movement and three dimensionality- how much of the work is predetermined by you from the start? Or does it evolve through the process of its creation, taking shape as each layer is added?

Halsey Hathaway: My pictorial language and painting process have developed through painting. Every move and change within the work comes from working with the materials and typically each work informs the direction of the next.

Each painting comes from a drawing process. I’ll make a decision on what dimensions I feel are the right start and then begin drawing. The scale and geometry used in the drawing will move and shift until I begin to arrive at something that interests me. I typically have an idea of the sensibility I want, but the process really leads the way.  When it comes to the actual painting, I have a very clear idea of how the forms will be working and plans for how it will be constructed, but the color moves. Each painting is on a dyed canvas which I stain into with paint.  The earliest layers soak into the canvas and it’s their outcome that sets the tone for how I approach the final layers of each painting.

RP: Your body of work develops then through the action of creating, painting developing through painting- can that in turn point to the larger nature of your abstraction?  Your paintings seem to expose themselves as opposed to a work that commands a specific type of interaction- where does this interest lie for you?

HH: Yes, most everything evolves and my work is no exception, from the larger body of my work as a whole to the development of each individual piece. What ever it is that I paint and how I go about it are deeply entrenched in the day to day of the studio.

I can’t say I subscribe to any specific dogma of Abstraction. I paint what I paint at the moment because that is the place where I’m interested. Those interests are nearly impossible to put into words.  But making work that is vulnerable to the subjective viewer’s experience is important. Not only should the paintings be vulnerable to a changing physical environment, but also the changing viewer. I hope the works will move parallel with a viewer’s stream of consciousness and abstraction is the most flexible means for things to happen experientially. They are not paintings to be seen once and remembered in a mind’s eye, they are things to be revisited as we all reshape.  I’m still unsure what painting this way says about our current human condition.

RP: So the audience’s experience of your work is an embodied one- open to that individual’s particular moment within the physical space. Looking at this specific installation, given the importance of environment in experiencing your work, how have you incorporated the new gallery space of Rawson Projects into the overall vision of this exhibition?

HH: Preparing for this exhibition had its own unique challenges and provoked me to approach how I was painting in new ways. Many of the works in the show were made before I knew what the gallery was going to be.

Previously, I would paint with an idea of the installation guiding the direction of the work. While painting this summer, I knew many of the pieces would be included in the show, yet the specifics were still to be decided.

I had to free up, explore some unknowns and give myself the opportunity to visit ideas I had previously set aside. The result was paintings that can be very singular from each other and wresting them into a narrow vision was not where I was at, and it wasn’t doing the work justice. So when it came time for the installation, I think the paintings made most of the decisions for us.

Halsey Hathaway was born in Buffalo in 1980 and lives and works in Brooklyn. The artist has been included in many notable recent exhibitions including Drawings from 2013/2014 at Denny Gallery, New York (2014); Site/Displace at Kristen Lorello, New York (2014); Cathedral: Artchitecture and Atmosphere at Silas Marder Gallery, Brdigehampton (2013); New Paintings at Storefront Bushwick, Brooklyn (2012) and Line and Plane at McKenzie Fine Art, New York (2012).


For more information please contact the gallery at


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