Hawkins: Saudade

Tara Hawkins (2015) created a collection of four pop-surrealist-inspired diptychs entitled “Saudade” as part of her senior thesis in ARTS 499 taught by Gary Bolding. In her artist statement, she explains:

“The modern childhood is often imagined as innocent, stable, and relatively pleasant. However, the transition from childhood to adulthood can be troubling and traumatic; it often causes one to become disillusioned with life. As adults, we find ourselves longing for our childhood existence and idealizing it in our minds, much like our child selves idealized the freedom and pleasures of adulthood. This conflicting duality is what I aim to represent in my project, Saudade. The primary way in which my work juxtaposes childhood and adulthood is in the visual language that it is communicated in. Representing the impulsive way in which children behave are oil paintings that are executed in a rough, gestural style that is reminiscent of children’s chalk drawings. And representing the more stifling nature of adulthood are paintings that are comparatively realistic. They are executed in a manner that reflects reality in terms of form, lighting, and anatomical accuracy. But they are also purposefully stylized to make them more accessible and relatable to the viewer. In my work, the discrepancy between childhood and adulthood is also represented symbolically. Stuffed animals, tea parties, and budding plants represent the innocence and optimism of childhood; while images associated with alcohol, drugs, sex, and money signify our struggle to cope with the harsh realities of adulthood. While my work illustrates this conflict, it does not provide a resolution for it. Children’s longing to be “grown ups” and adults’ longing to relive their childhood is merely a part of the human condition.”


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