Clay Eater

Assistant Professor of Art at the University of Missouri in Columbia and graduate of the prestigious Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, Hawk grew up in the Midwest in the Bible belt. He states that he received the ?standard (religious) upbringing? for that region of the United States. Early in life it had been ingrained in him that there is more to life than just what one sees on the surface. This lesson and others from his religious background still affect his outlook on life and his painting as well. The lesson that there is more to life than what is on the surface has often occurred to Hawk when considering today?s culture. In a recent interview with Hawk, he mentioned how ironic it is that Conservatives in the United States today tout their links to Christianity yet their actions are often contrary to the Bible. His works are filled with spiritual ambiguity and often reflect his perplexing attitude concerning issues of faith and politics. In the imposing figure found in Clay Eater, the clay represents the substance of our bodies according to the artist. He describes this work as a metaphor about American culture. He discusses how the emphasis in America is placed on the material things in life. We are self-consumptive from the time we are born. In this painting the not quite erect figure walking out of the water and consuming a handful of earth (clay) could actually be a fish evolving into a man. The evolving man leaves behind the intangible sea and enters the tangible land. It could also be interpreted as simply a person walking out of the water. This work could or could not be about evolution versus creation depending on the viewer?s intellectual and spiritual background. The imposing presence of the large male figure surrounded by an aura attracts the viewer?s immediate attention. Once the attention of the viewer has been grasped then the content of the painting engages the viewer on an intellectual plane since it contains so much ambiguity.