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Evan Hawkins explores the nature of reality

Evan Hawkins is a contemporary surrealist.

His work, which includes drawings of modern structures overtaken by ancient ruins and realistic illustrations of shipwrecks on other planets, comes directly from the illogical language of dreams. It fuses ancient with the futuristic and the celestial with the terrestrial. It first pulls you in with some tantalizing, impossible vision – the Darwin Martin House reimagined as a Mayan temple, for example – then pushes you off-kilter.

A new collection of Hawkins’ work goes on view June 3 in Studio Hart (65 Allen St.) in a déjà vu-invoking exhibition titled “We Were Here Once Before.” It includes fantastical, photorealistic visions of the detritus of human civilization on what appears to be a desolate moonscape. It’s all directed at forcing the viewer to question their relationship with the real world.

“My intention,” Hawkins wrote in a statement, “is not to ask the viewer to believe in the reality that I have presented, but rather to ask them to engage in a manner of thinking that will entice them to question what reality is.”

The show opens with a reception at 6 p.m. June 3 as part of the monthly Allentown First Fridays event. It is on view through June 28. Call 536-8337 or visit studiohart.com.

-Colin Dabkowski