Exhibit | The ‘Violent and Tumultuous Flows’ of Artist Carlson Hatton

Carlson Hatton, “Specious”, 2015.

Artist Carlson Hatton‘s Black Hills exhibition at Patrick Painter Inc in Santa Monica has a Cubist eloquence to it, positing a new direction for the artist whose earlier experiments with fragmentation have evolved into new works that integrate primary subject and background elements in ways that play with light and shadow.

Black Hills derives from a motif of black drips or hill like forms that populate each work, says Hatton, an Art Professor at Santa Monica College. “I was interested in this abstracted result of a process taking on a symbolically representational form like a hill.  I am interested in hills that might absorb light and are described by their lack of light. There’s something incredibly atmospheric about hills that are defined by night.”

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In Hatton’s mixed media works, he seamlessly integrates acrylic, graphite, and paper, applying historical printmaking practices (and machinery) to digital age imagery without relying on digital age techniques.

“Technically, I’m reproducing or miss-using rudimentary print techniques, but conceptually I try to reference a visually complex world that I think we’re out of sync with,” explains Hatton. “I want to offer perspectives that are not fixed; they are in flux and comment on the bombardment of info that smothers us daily.  The work is informed by Photoshop, printmaking, and collage because of the infinite sense of layering that all three offer.” 


Carlson Hatton, “Breaking Glass”, 2016.

“Breaking Glass” beautifully portrays a combination of images inside a cosmic scene, the painting resembling an Asian graphic style where colors, nature and designs connect. “I am definitely influenced by Japanese woodblock prints and prints in general. There’s an overwhelming quality within the patterns and saturated colors,” says Hatton, “Everything is essentially crisp, so the only way to create depth is through scale relationships and color. That language appeals to me.”


Carlson Hatton, “Torrential”, 2016.

Another painting of intense coalescence, “Torrential”, portrays a color birthing effect via a repetition of lines, yellows, greens and pinks that play with symmetrical  bright and dark shapes. “I think that there’s an energy within the featured plant life that absorbs all that’s within it’s path or proximity,” explains Hatton. “It’s in the process of devouring a chair. I very much like the idea of a violent and tumultuous flow in the form of a birthing. Spouting upward and outward. There are greenish branches throughout the work that could also double as coral or some type of biological close up.” 

“I very much like the idea of a violent and tumultuous flow in the form of a birthing.”

In Black Hills, Carlson Hatton has created the kind of lively work that seems to generate its own existence. The series extends figures or objects into unlikely environment relationships with unique sculptural elements of various volumes and mass. As for the future, the progression of Hatton’s inventiveness will know doubt keep stride with the artist’s focused curiosity.

Says Hatton, “I’m interested in portraying a complexity that reveals itself over time, and that exploration will definitely continue.”

Carlson Hatton’s Black Hills is on view at Patrick Painter Inc through May 21, 2016.
All images courtesy of the artist and Patrick Painter Inc.