John Hawke’s work began in on site landscape painting. Over time, the performative nature of the artist in public space, combined with the perceived failure of an optical approach in adequately representing a landscape led to a more conceptual landscape model, where spaces are seen not as constructions of colors but as snarled vectors of interest-- with art having an unusually effective intervening capacity.
For the past seven years, he has made architecture and sign interventions in public space, employing the principle of 'productive confusion' in a sometimes collaborative project entitled Orange Work, that combines symbols of authority with novel forms and messages.
He completed undergraduate study at Colby College with a degree in Classics, and received an MFA, and an MS degree in Art History (with a thesis on Robert Smithson’s environmental antagonism) from Pratt Institute in 2002. He participated in the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program in 2006.
He has exhibited his work in New York at Apex Art, the Abrons Art Center, Anthology Film Archives, Art in General, Creative Time, and Eyebeam, as well as at the Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia), the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin), the Centro Cultural de Belém (Lisbon), Pallant House Gallery (UK), the Riccardo Crespi Gallery (Milan) and most recently at G-MK (Zagreb).
His work has been
presented at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, PS.1, the New School’s Vera List Center, Exit Art, and at the College Art Association, and has been reviewed in the New York Times, Flash Art, Architect’s Newspaper, the Radical History Review, the Brooklyn Rail, and
rhizome.org. He recently moved to Portugal, and lives outside Lisbon.