Escape the Esplanade


Kate Hawkins

27 July - 18 August 2013


Open Fri-Sun,  12-5pm

Private View/ LIMBO's 10th Birthday Party: Fri 26 July, 6-9pm



LIMBO is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Kate Hawkins.


Escape the Esplanade addresses the dichotomy between the spectacle and the spectator, by positioning a set of works in a manner that alludes to the composition of the nearby High Street, forming a central ‘path’ through which the viewer must navigate, ‘overlooked’ by ‘bystanding’ paintings and structures. 


Much of Kate Hawkins’ work draws from the discourse that surrounds performance and theatre. Her previous performance-based background notably informs her more recent work. For Escape The Esplanade Kate makes paintings as a means to de-activate the performer/viewer paradigm, thereby encouraging the spectator to adopt the role of performer. The viewer is persuaded to partake in active engagement with the work, and, in doing so, enact a parallel performance of sorts. 


Escape the Esplanade is both an invitation for participation from the viewer and a response to the structure of the Limbo project space. The length and shape of the space lends itself to a practical act of ‘walking through’, an act that is similarly directed by the structure of a street or pier. The paintings reference street-style blog images, but here the label ‘street style’ takes on dual meaning where both the spectator and artwork can be viewed as potential ‘performing’ subjects. This shift in viewing positions serves to highlight the act of looking which is further played out through the use of motifs such as lenses and lengthy eyelashes. 


Situated behind Margate’s High Street, Limbo is comparatively ‘backstage’. In engineering this conflation of spectacle and spectator, Hawkins offers a reflection of the ‘front stage’ while remaining honest about backstage mechanics and processes of display.

Download the pdf of Kate Hawkins in conversation with Charley Vines here



Kate Hawkins lives and works in London. She studied at Edinburgh University and the Slade and is currently completing a practice-based PhD at Winchester School of Art on whether painting can be performative without becoming theatrical and what this means for spectatorship. She will this year also exhibit in Bloomberg New Contemporaries, selected by Chantal Joffe, Ryan Gander, and Nathaniel Mellors. Recent exhibitions include the London Art Fair (for Gallery Vela) 2-person show, 2013; The King of Hearts Has No Moustache, a solo exhibition at Gallery Vela, London, 2012; and My Brother is a Hairy Man, with James Ferris, at George Polke, London, 2011.

Limbo’s 2013-14 programme is supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, and by Kent County Council through their Arts Investment Fund




Text by Charley Vines


Limbo 2010