Saturday, March 26, 2011

Writ Crit; Hannah Ireland







altered reality











Ecotone: An ecotone is a transition area between two adjacent but different patches of landscape, such as forest and grassland.[1] It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and grassland ecosystems).

Looking at Hannah’s work I find myself feeling there is something missing, not that the work is lacking something in the conceptual or visual sense or lacking in any pejorative way, but that its intention is to leave the viewer in somewhat of a limbo between reality and fantasy, between something lucid and ambiguous. It teases you by showing all but the essential elements for one to understand it; this is exciting. This binary, the work really being created in between the ‘two things’, seems to exists as a memory where it is partly made of real events and partly created in the imagination.

For this critique Hannah is presenting 6 prints, a model of a proposed project and a three dimensional hanging object. When first entering the installation space one sees the model or sketch of a proposed project, the shape of it along with the colors and layers and all listed. Under that is a sample of the technique of how the paper will be cut. Directly above there is a three dimensional object of cut paper, the shape is rounded at the top and from the side looks like the material is dripping down from the above. The shape is hollow so that when one is standing directly below the one can look up into the object to see the inner layer of the shape.

Moving to the left of the sample there is the first drawing. This drawing could be a combination of pen, pencil and water color on a large sheet of white paper. The imagery is soft and cloud like, one could see if they wanted the view of the top of a mountain through clouds, a fantastical approach creates an idea of an imagined or remembered landscape. It is almost dream like. There is minimal color (mostly shades of grey and a little blue) and all of the imagery is confined within the edges of the paper and does not attempt to explore past the boarder of the page.

The next piece, to the left, does not float within the boarders but is grounded to and touching the top of the paper. This print seems to be a photo litho or xerox transfer. The imagery is more founded in reality than the piece next to it. The image could be of the side of a mountain or cliff or an embankment. There are trees that seem to be growing off of what would seem to be the surface of the land but to the viewer they are growing upside down. Similar to the work shown to the right, this print is of a landscape, possibly at the top of a mountain or cliff, yet both of these images are not straight forward, they create a sense of confusion and fantasy.

The next print we see if a digital print with water color. This print, out of the six, is the only one that presents the viewer with a clear representation of nature or a landscape. The image of what could be grass, weeds, or moss is floating within the boarders of the white sheet of paper. Below the nature there is red that is falling, steaming, off of the object.

The next three prints seem to be a series, they all share similar shades of grey and red, they are all on an off white paper and are the same size. The two on the ends are monotypes with drawing and painting, the monotype elements create a grounding shape on each of the prints that the middle print or drawing does not have. In the print on the right, the monotype shape is floating within the edges while the print on the far left it is touching three edges of the paper and creates an even stronger sense that the image is grounded at the bottom of the page. The monotype shapes do not seem integrated quite enough with the more delicate and detailed hand drawing and painting.

The print in the middle has a sublime quality. The graphite that is pushed into the paper towards the middle of the page has become shiny and sections of that top layer of the paper in these parts have been cut and lifted from the print. These shapes are similar to the shapes of the three dimensional object that is hanging as you first enter the installation room, triangles and diamonds.

What I most like about Hannah’s work which I think the first two works accomplish, especially the print on the left, is this feeling of limbo, this in-between, the ecotone, a feeling of vertigo. The print that stands alone is almost too lucid and the ones on the third wall are in a way too ambiguous. The feeling I get from looking at the print on the first wall on the left is that I need to be standing on my head to understand it and then once I have done that to see it, I then would question why I am standing on my head. It’s a cycle of confusion that is grounded enough in reality that it makes one want to take that leap to understand it. It is balanced between ambiguity and lucidity.

There is a movement to the three dimensional object: it spins around as the air flows through the room: this appears to mimic or could hint at the movement that would need to happen to fully grasp the imagery of the prints, to understand them one would have to physically move into their space. Many of the prints here make me think of memory. How it seems it should be easy for us to remember something, we feel it there somewhere in the backs of our heads but we cannot quite reach it. We teeter on the edge of remembrance when trying to convey what’s happened in the past and although it can be unsteady, it is a balance, and that I can see in some of the prints here.

Another theme that came to mind was what I thought of as “addressing the shape.” There no doubt is a repeated motif, a shape, rounded at the top and peeling over the edge, dripping down and dissolving. The shape appears within the three dimensional object, all of the prints in somewhat varied forms except for the photo-transfer print where the shape is not directly described but the top of it could be seen within the negative (or white) space of the piece. In some of the prints I think the shape more successfully embodies a balance of reality and fantasy, such as the middle print of the series and the two prints at the beginning of the installation space.

Artists that came up during Hannah's critique were:

Jean Antoni and a piece called "touch" where she tightropes on the horizon.

Francis Alÿs and The Green Line (2007)


New York Times Article

Also Anselm Kiefer's Merkaba series


"The Merkaba and Hechaloth literature, as discussed in the Kabbalah texts, deal specifically with the ascent up to seven heavenly palaces or temples, which represent the seven attainments of divine spirituality. For Kiefer, the Merkaba, or mystical chariot used for this passage, is not the vehicle towards a single apocalyptic Judgment Day but, rather, a means to the ongoing process of working at art." Quote from Gagosian website, more images

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