Alan Hathaway is an artist born in London and currently based in The North East of England. His work is held in private collections internationally as well as the British Museum’s drawing and print archive.
Using installation, collage, print, text and film, he re presents cultural references drawn from the recent histories of both abstract painting and popular culture. Using industrial materials and combinations of digital and analogue technologies he re imagines archive source material as highly reductive exhibition and performance spaces, printed matter and expanded paintings.
As a teenager growing up in Britain during the 1980s, music offered a compelling alternative to what he describes as his “otherwise limited and claustrophobic, suburban, working class environment”. Jamie Reid’s graphics for the Sex Pistols and Peter Saville’s work for Factory Records introduced him to ideas of appropriation, collage and the power of a blank record sleeve – the monochrome. His early immersion in The Dada and Situationist inspired Reid/Mclaren project and Manchester’s Factory label are key to understanding his later desire to connect aesthetics with social and institutional critique and to acknowledge the way in which popular music has shaped our collective unconscious.
As an art student experimenting with abstraction he was drawn to the idea that non representational art could be seen as a reflection of social life and personal alienation, rather than as a utopian formal exercise, an idea which echoed the messages of opposition he had first encountered within popular music.
Hathaway’s use of abstraction has gradually evolved to become what might be interpreted as a series of signs, deployed alongside other forms of image making. His modular, interchangeable and temporal installations draw attention to their own making and means of display – using limitation as way of responding to both site and audience. The artist sees all of his work as an attempt to connect historic and contemporaneous ideas, question aspiration and navigate an increasingly abstract and disorientating world.