Based at Red Dog creative studios, the work Hannah produced in 2021 explores graphite. Using different grades and techniques the effect of this versatile medium varies between Hannah's works but all share in common the dramatic contrast of graphite against a stark white background. The construction of forms - bodily and from nature - has been a major area of interest, experimenting with the presentation of hands and seated postures. Below you will find some of her key works in the series that demonstrate the techniques she has developed as well as an example of a colour study in acrylic that she intends to develop further in the coming months.
The first study in this series, SEATED 1, employs the drastic contrast between thickly applied soft graphite and the fragile outline made using a hard graphite pencil. The posture of the figure holds intention, leaning forward as if to command attention, while the soft hands have an uncertainty in their splayed gesture. This gesturing and posturing holds much communication, even the slight turning inwards of the feet demonstrate intention in the figure while the elbows rested on the wide apart knees confirm their is some length of time to whatever speech or thought the figure is communicating. The hands in this drawing were a significant moment in discovering the versatility of graphite: the varied use of the medium conveys shape shape form while also emphasising the fingers' posture with thick marks around the floating fingertips.
Another exploration of posture, this work further uses soft graphite, heavily applied, to add depth and solid form to loose hard graphite lines.
The hunched and gathered right arm and hand of the figure, suspended uncomfortably at the waist, is followed by the solid and straight right leg that props up the tent-like shirt on the figure's torso. The tense, messy area remains high up in the figure, and is exaggerated by the high-contrast shading of the tumultuous shirt and hair. Boldly outstanding is the rested left hand; it hits the protruding left thigh where sweeps of gentle folds turn the left leg into a large abstract form that contrasts the tense knot of the figure's upper body.
"The most incredible and talented artist is paid homage to in this work.
Using grades of graphite, I wanted to imitate Bacon's sparse approach to creating tangible, deep form - as shades of graphite melt from heavy dark to barely visible marks they suggest shape with an accuracy beyond any photographic or realistic capture of form.
His folded hands, placed almost in prayer, are loosely held together marks around a faint, hard graphite line.
The hunched posture of Bacon matches his downcast eyes, but the turned hips which place his right foot in front of his left capture that his upper body's humility rests on an assured artistic skill. He is rooted in a sure practice of art, and I will ever aspire to be so myself."
The Reader further explores seated posture, but without the tension of Seated 1 or Standing, as the figure is uniformly relaxed. The billowing shirt turns the torso into round with the figures hair, resulting in a peaceful and smooth line round to the hands that connect via the book; softly drawn with a loose outline. The sphere of the upper body is mimicked as the legs both fold inward, with a tightly rounded right knee and draped left leg hanging over the edge of the seat ending in the suggestion of an ankle drawn with in faint, hard graphite lines. with the absence of feet, it is as if the reader floats in her peaceful sphere.
The chair is loosely realised to contain the figure in a nurturing, safe structure - markedly different from the independent, self-supported form of Francis Bacon.
The graphite use in this drawing again employs many levels of depth, but it significantly uses negative space on the face and hands to emphasise a sensitive, peaceful demeaner and to illustrate the unburdened and relaxed posture of the facial features and gently gripping fingers.
The title of this piece is a reference to the saying, 'Many hands make light work'.
It deliberately holds irony, as the drawing shows hand postures that seem distressed, confused or lost; working hard. There is in this the idea that is we are to have more hands for our tasks, emotional or physical, the quantity of problems and difficulties also increases. The many hands in suspended postures hold many different feelings, and they all act for one figure demonstrating the multiplicity of our feelings - how one emotion can be felt in conjunction with another over the very same thing even if those emotions conflict. There is a very real possibility, perhaps truth, that our feelings are not reliable recourses for decisions, and the stress of this is present in this work.
An example of Hannah's viewing nature, this drawing was made using charcoal and departs from the fascination in human form and posture.
The great contrast between the barely realised stem and the heavy heads of the dried flower makes this work seem fragile.
This posture holds far less intension than Seated 1, but demonstrates Hannah's developed approach to graphite.
The minimal realisation of the figure's hands that still conveys their folded positions, especially the figure's right hand, are a triumph in technique. With quick strokes of graphite and precise application of the softer graphite, dimension is given to the hand. The scribbled nature of the graphite lines, a free and loose approach, is combined with the accuracy of the feeling of gesture that the scribbles convey.
READER: ACRYLIC STUDY
The introduction of colour transforms the reader, and offers exciting possibilities. Keeping the use of line, and the circular form of the seated reader, the mutes green tones and pale flesh colours draw on the peacefulness of the sitter, as well as adding a warmth to the figure.