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Mercy Hawkins “Often I am Permitted to Return to a Meadow”

Oct 4 — Oct 28, 2023

Marrow Gallery presents “Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow,” Sacramento-based mixed media artist Mercy Hawkins’s debut solo exhibition with a commercial gallery. Featuring a suite of brand-new wall hangings and soft sculptures, the exhibition, which takes its title from 20th century Bay Area poet Robert Duncan’s verse of the same name, is an examination of proximity and distance in a time of increasing isolation that considers environment of myriad kinds, from the climate crisis to the personal interior.

Hawkins’s practice is one deeply inspired by topophilia – love of the land and a sense of belonging in a particular geographical place – and a desire to heal the planet in concert with community. The wall mounted textiles and freestanding soft sculptures that constitute “Often I Am Permitted” take organic forms, reminiscent of their natural inspirations, often depicting anthropomorphic plant-like characters offering intimate experiences of connection to each other and the viewer.

Often performing tender moments of physical touch, the characters in these works simultaneously offer a vision of connectivity and activates the viewer’s body in relation to the artwork, bringing one into an awareness of their own location in space as well as into a dynamic negotiation with those around them and within their shared environment, in the gallery and beyond. The fibrous nature of the work itself further evokes the familiar, sensorial experience of touch which too often becomes lost in an increasingly alienated social environment.

The meticulous embroidery of the Hawkins’s lavishly detailed constructions encourages an attuned viewing experience, emulating the slowness of a mindful and centered way of existing within one’s body and environment. The artist’s signature hand stitching, which holds the semblance of the dash or a percussive beat, also references the steady vibration of the land that intentional perception might allow one to connect with.

The climate crisis and the increasing endemic of loneliness are both global phenomena rapidly accelerated by rampant technological advancement. Fundamentally, both of these environmental threats also threaten communities. But it is also within community that we can locate opportunities to heal ourselves and our environment. Here, Hawkins’s work offers an opportunity to come a little closer together, planting the seed for something greater than each of us to bloom.


About Mercy Hawkins:

Mercy Hawkins is a mixed-media artist who received her BA in Studio Art from California State University, Sacramento, and her MFA in Studio Art from the University of California, Davis. She has exhibited her work across California, including at the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley and at the UC Davis Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. A recipient of multiple awards, she recently completed a graduate fellowship residency at The Headlands Center for the Arts. Hawkins currently teaches art at UC Davis and California State University, Sacramento. 

October 4 – 28, 2023

Reception: October 14th, 5-7pm       


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