THE ARTIST AND HER WORK
The worldwide mood of optimism among young people in the late 1960s had a profound impact on society and politics, and determined the school years of Karin Hawkes Pregley. Grown up in Berlin, she came in touch with the exciting pop-cultural impulses of this movement. Above all music, but also visual arts determined the life of this young generation. For them the arts, revolt and everyday life were no longer separate worlds, but interwoven in a symbiotic way. Whoever was there at that time, recalls a stage in life that shaped an entire generation. Karin Hawkes Pregley studied graphics and photography, art history, Islamic art history and languages in West-Berlin and London. Historical reflection and her own artistic creativity were no contradiction to her, but a welcome combination.
As co-founder of the renowned antique arts gallery Neiriz Berlin (1980-2014) she came in direct contact with archaeological finds, nomadic weaves, Japanese wood-cuts, Chinese objects d’art, as well as African masks and sculptures. Further to the inspiration by Western Art, the aesthetics of these Non-European arts also found their way into Karin’s creative work.
Her art is characterized by extreme dynamics: it is noisy, wild and rousing, at times almost aggressive. Bewildering contours mix and interlock. Recent works show a more violent brushstroke, scratching techniques and hazy shades bury the purely formal approach, at the same time keeping a tense strength and balance. Strong colours and contrasts, movement and rhythm, spontaneity and chance cause a continuous variation between representational stylizing and abstract forms. The proximity to music and poetry is obvious, too, and evidenced, as It were, by some of the attached titles.
Karin Hawkes’ digital images remind of Pop Art screen printing as a mass duplication technique. However, here photographic originals are dissolved by fading into schematically gridded features, acquiring a highly abstract character. Piercing, luminous shades, mostly of primary purity, create an intoxicating atmosphere. They are quite obviously initiated by the time the artist lived in Swinging London during the seventies, when Pop Art was revived by advertising, art exhibitions, and glam Art Rock bands were en vogue. Intense colours heat up Karin’s subjects, and dissolve their recognizability: unreal, another world becomes visible- one may call it the inner world. With emphatic fantasy the artist absorbs and filters external appearances, transforming them into own ideas, which stand for an attitude of life into which the spirit of time flashes: the longing, expressiveness, thirst of freedom, rebellion and the desire to experiment.
(after Michael Nungesser, catalogue “Laid behind the Frame”, 2018)