Carlson Hatton‘s current show “Extinction Burst” is brilliant, both in concept and execution–the shapes and bright colors vibrate, leaping off the walls at Weekend Gallery. The two larger pieces, composed four panels each, run floor to ceiling, at first seemingly abstract combinations of shapes and form, revealing stories forged from complexly arranged imagery, some which reappears in the smaller works across from them.
In the smaller works, faces are veiled in tattered or fashionable scarves and chic sunglasses–hipsters, post-modern terrorists, haute couture anarchists, reconstructed revolutionaries. (During the French Revolution, angry mobs and bands of displaced youths would raid the chateaux and city homes of the wealthy and wrap themselves in abandoned finery before continuing onwards towards the Reign of Terror). Along with draped figures their are other recurring images, abstract tropical flowers, grids, stripes, circles; at times the subjects’ boundaries dissolve into the background.
A professor of art at Santa Monica College who completed a two-year Laureate program at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, Netherlands, Hatton draws on art history, pop culture, philosophy, design, and fashion to create his paintings. In Trophy, the figure rising like the veiled force in Aleister Crowley’s The Lovers tarot card, is a fortune teller. His/her be-ringed hand, decorated with a spider web, morphs into tentacles as flowers and softly blurred black circles fall from the shaded pink background. The grid in Captains of Consciousness reveals itself to be a peyote button, the covered figure half clothed could be an otherworldly avatar or a dirty hippie stripping as one leg merges into the background, mirroring the solo leg in the lower left of Burst of Extinction. In the exhibition’s titular work, the naked leg leg is bound with a rope, as in a Masonic initiations. Around the leg are arrows, referencing St Sebastian. There is no veiled figure, just a striped cap impaled on machinery below a fringed parasol as nuts, bolts and other bits of machinery tumble by. Our ability to process images has been rendered extinct by humanity’s reliance on symbols, leaving in its wake translucent swathes of color that ripple like John Singer Sargent’s landscapes in post modern chaos.
Extinction Burst closes October 27.Weekend Gallery 4634 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles, 90027 Saturdays-Sunday, 11am-4pm, and by appointment