Tim Hawkinson's enigmatic sculpture Cow blends the artist's interest in exploring different artistic methods and processes with his alchemic ability to turn a diverse array of objects into a coherent work that speaks to contemporary cultural concerns. Cow consists of a collection of dismembered mannequin parts (an arm, a leg, and part of a neck), which Hawkinson has covered with a brown silicone skin to produce a bongo-like drum across the end of opening. At each of these junctures, the artist has placed small carved plastic Homunculi (the mythological miniature human beings thought have been formed in the flasks of medieval alchemists) that play out a rhythmical tune on these improvised drums.
These miniature figures, playing triumphantly on the broken limbs of humanity, evoke a foreboding image of the breakdown of civilization, overtaken by the menace of technology. This intrusion into society of the all-consuming nature of technology is a recurrent theme in Hawkinson's work as evidenced by pieces such as Emoter--a kinetic sculpture in the form of a large-scale photographic representation of Hawkinson's face whose features are animated by motors. Hawkinson has an unmatched ability to transform an eclectic variety of materials and ideas into an engaging work of art. With works such as Cow he has endeavored to address questions of temporality, subjectivity, spirituality and death through the materials and objects of contemporary consumer culture.