Display Cases in the Great Hall: Exhibition Archive

Timothy Hawkesworth

February 1, 2014 - March 17, 2014

Wishes: Horses

Horses are powerful, atavistic creatures, symbols of freedom, speed, and sensitive response. This exhibition of horse drawings spans two important dates connected to the imagery of Irish painter Timothy Hawkesworth: 1 February 2014 marks the beginning of the Year of the Horse, the seventh sign of the Chinese zodiac and an auspicious year recognizing the power and primal nature of the horse. The end date of the exhibition, 17 March marks Saint Patrick’s Day, named for the patron saint of Ireland, where Timothy Hawkesworth grew up on a farm and began his relationship with horses.

Hawkesworth’s horses are energetic and rapidly drawn with graphite over wax and paint on paper, moving from right to left, galloping, rearing, and walking with heads bowed, raised or thrown back in restless movement. Evoking the animal nature with figurative representations, like Susan Rothenberg’s horses from the 1970s, Hawkesworth infuses a personal vision in these drawings, and taps into a source of infinite fascination: domesticated animals that retain a wild and untamed spirit. Like Eadweard Muybridge’s early photographic studies of horses in motion, a series of these monochromatic drawings present a sequence of dramatic movement that belies their small size. Hawkesworth often speaks of the “rigor of wildness,” a sort of alignment with the core of creativity within oneself, or a spine that holds the energy and freedom of the creature in motion. His horses embody this concept with their delicate layering and gobs of paint dabbed onto a small paper support. With gestural strokes of graphite, he gives these tiny horses a physical weight on the page, adding substance to what are otherwise outlines extracted from memory, implying motion and freedom.

Growing up on a farm in Northern Ireland, Hawkesworth’s experience of horses informed much of how he saw the world, and how he began to respond to it through painting. Donald Kuspit has written that “Hawkesworth’s art is about the uncanniness of suffering.” In his own words, Hawkesworth gives profound emphasis to the power of the animals to transform his human response:

“I grew up short sighted - my eyes blurred with cataracts. Horses helped me see. Animals of flight, they are programmed to be well informed, ready to go, no separation between thought and action, message and response. The vibration of energy through their body, through my hands and my legs, gave me a special read on the natural world. I was taught attentiveness. How I was shown made me a painter and what I was shown, gave me my content.”


Case One: Left to Right
Small Horse Drawing #6, 2012, 4 x 6 inches
Small Horse Drawing #2, 2012, 4 x 6 inches
Small Horse Drawing #7, 2012, 4 x 6 inches
Small Horse Drawing #4, 2012, 4 x 6 inches

Case Two: Left to Right
Small Horse Drawing #5, 2012, 4 x 6 inches
Horse #4, 2012, 12 x 14 inches
Small Horse Drawing #3, 2012, 4 x 6 inches

All works are oil, graphite, and wax on paper

All works courtesy of the artist and Littlejohn Contemporary
Artist website
Curated by Lisa A. Banner