By Charles Bonenti 



Painting is a visceral experience for Irish artist Timothy Hawkesworth -- visceral in the way his canvases look, sprawling with coils and tangles of paint; and by his own testimony.

He talks about painting as a "push pull" experience between the marks he is making on the canvas and the image struggling to emerge.

"The process of painting becomes a lived experience, part of life, not a reflection of an ideal," he has written.

That energy is more than apparent in the two paintings -- and to a lesser extent the 10 mixed media drawings -- he has on view at the Plum Gallery here through Sept. 15.

The paintings (titled "Heart" and "When the Heart Opens") pulse and gush with reds, pinks, yellows and greens -- applied, scraped away and repainted over long periods of time.

The drawings, while also wrought in tangles of line, surface smudges and color patches, are more studied, with recognizeable images -- boats, horses, bones and even written text emerging from the chaos.

The horses, overlaid with bones like anatomical studies, and the boats, simple saucer-like shapes, appear in numbers of Hawkesworth's pieces, although their significance to him is unstated.

The texts, I'm told, are taken from letters he received in college, letters whose content somehow inspired a visual interpretation.

Hawkesworth grew up and went to college in Ireland, but has been living, teaching and exhibiting in the United States for nearly three decades. He may be familiar to Berkshire artists through his participation in the annual Art New England workshops at Bennington College.

His paintings and drawings are spontaneous, energetic constructions of pigment and line that celebrate the physicality of art-making and invite the viewer into the act as well.

The Plum Gallery is at 112 Water St. in Williamstown. Hours are 11 to 5 daily. 

Charles Bonenti can be reached at



*By “consciousness” I take him to mean what we now call the analytical mind.






To Understand a Painting January 2005
Hope, February 2003
A Strange Time to Hold a Brush, September 2001
Assorted Short Pieces