Carslon Hatton at Patrick Painter

More Than Its Parts: Carlson Hatton

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To say that Carlson Hatton’s work is mixed media feels as though we are missing the juicy meat. The totality of his visual language is far more sumptuous than the sum of all its parts. His solo appearance at Patrick Painter, inside Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, is a pleasurable bombardment of myriad images created by the artist adeptly dabbling in painting, drawing, airbrushing, and silkscreening. Consisting of seven different polyptych works, each piece in the show is made up of multiple sheets of paper mounted on panels.

Practical considerations aside, this mode of building a polyptych is remarkably clever once we notice that the scenes and objects that cross over the papers don’t quite match up. The misalignment has got to be purposefully intended. Though the principle of gestalt helps us see the bigger picture in its entirety, there is a constant push and pull at play, which keeps our eyes rolling and balling. We find ourselves attempting to see the parts and see the whole all at once. The experience is a bit like a “Charlie Foxtrot” moment, except that no one’s going to die and it’s highly entertaining.

Trying to make sense of the tripping world that Hatton paints and draws and airbrushes and silkscreens, we look to our anecdotes. Maybe it’s like this. Think an electronic dance festival in the desert meets the cactus and succulent section of a botanical garden. Probably more of the latter than the former. We definitely sense the swirling landscaping job unfolding in Hatton’s composition. Then the party, minus some of the naughties we often witness at these fests, ensues. If we stick around long enough, heck we might find a bit of a celestial moment, in which the small and divided but light and airy voids in Hatton’s images appear to softly invade and crash the party in the garden.


Carlson Hatton’s work is still on view at Patrick Painter until this Saturday, April 18, 2015. Try getting there before it closes. It’s a MUST SEE.

All images shot by author for editorial purpose only.

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