16 September - 4 November 2022 Upstairs @ Modern West
A mother of four, Hawkins’ floors at home are littered with toys—especially blocks, Magnatile, and nerf gun bullets. These objects became the inspiration in creating a series of relief images and photograms inspired by the intuitive creativity of childhood and playtime.

Modern West is excited to announce RE/PLAY, a solo exhibition of new works by Emily Hawkins, on view from September 16 - November 4, 2022. An opening to celebrate the body of works created during the residency will be held September 16 from 6-8pm. All are invited to attend.


“My work obsesses over the idea of preservation. What we, as humans, preserve, why we hold on to things and experiences, tangible objects or memories in the mind, and what that actual memory might look like hanging on a wall, to be felt and experienced again and again—not the object itself, but the feeling of the thing or memory.” - Emily Hawkins


While in residency, Emily Hawkins planned to develop a project called RE/PLAY, a series of relief images and photograms inspired by the intuitive creativity of childhood, which so often becomes a stranger to adults. A mother of four, Hawkins’ floors at home are littered with toys—especially blocks, Magnatile, and nerf gun bullets. These small construction projects of scattered shapes came and went without much of a visual record, though they began catching Hawkins’ eye for their potential artistic value. Interesting compositions emerged as she began photographing them to keep a record, and questions came about of how to preserve these thoughts and feelings instead of the stuff itself, along with questions of what compelled her to do so in the first place. Motivated by these forms and questions, Hawkins’ spent the past months in studios at Modern West and SaltGrass experimenting with light, movement, and chemicals to make photograms (which she calls the artistic equivalent to X-ray photography), and using different types of paper to achieve three-dimensional effects, creating a fossil-like record of play. She used actual toys (nerf gun bullets, blocks, paper airplanes), as well as traced shapes of toys and cut-out silhouettes of paper.


Hawkins holds a BFA in photography from The University of Utah. She is a multidisciplinary artist who explores family life through abstract lenses, questioning the expectations placed on mothers as family historians. Her work has appeared in several publications and gallery shows, including Marie Claire magazine and the Saranac Art Projects gallery.