Kathleen Hawkes is a visual artist who creates photographs, drawings and digital works. She was born in Ithaca, New York, and earned her BFA from Cornell University and her MFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. In 2012 Hawkes received a Fulbright to pursue a photographic project in the South Pacific. Hawkes is an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.
Feelings of belonging, estrangement, ambivalence and loss are essential to my process of art making. Discarded pastries, broken dishes, mended clothing and worn sheets in my work are metaphorical stand-ins for home and the fragile nature of sentimental attachment. There is a fugitive balance between presence and absence that I am trying to address, by capturing a tipping-point between wholeness and destruction. I use the camera to embalm the beauty of what is passing. I am drawn to the fraying edges, peeling wallpaper and minute cracks in the façade of the family home. Tenderness for these details is symbolized in freezing passing cherry blossoms, submerging domestic linens in milk, and covering place settings in dust. By experimenting with commonplace things I confront the tenuous nature of the physical body and emotional vulnerability.