Now Featuring Hannah Carr
Hannah Carr’s work might be best thought of as a form of tableaux, a composition that might be an image, but still relates to inhabitable, rearrangeable space in our imaginations. She flips between clean color fields and the unwieldiness of sculpture , populating abstract collages with human figures, and adorning real, embodied space in superflat forms.
MH: Can you talk about your collage and sculpture materials? I’m interested in the way the colors and textures you use can play with our sense of 2D and 3D space, flattening the sculptural or tricking us into seeing depth in something flat.
HC: Initially I started using collage as a sketching mechanism to plan out future installations. I started thinking of the collages as my own imaginary stage sets. This mindset let me move around the paper cutouts in space like miniature props, using the paper as a stand in for three dimensional objects. I began scanning small clay objects and printing them out to include in the collage. Scanning has become a way for me to reprocess materials and explore different ways of flattening imagery.
MH: You use the body in a lot of your work, like your wearable installation. Would you talk about where that came from? How do you think about performative bodies in your work, and a viewer’s body’s experience of the work?
HC: The body has always been an important part of how I think about and experience artwork. I grew up dancing, and feel like that definitely influenced how I learned to interact with objects and the space around me. Using the body in installations gives the viewer a certain entry point to the imaginary world that I’m trying to create.
I think about this similarly in image making. When I see the figure in an image, it lets me think about that space in relationship to my own body. I’m very inspired by set design, specifically works by Busby Berkeley and Alejandro Jodorowsky. Pee Wee’s Playhouse is another huge inspiration. These flattened, cartoonish sets exemplify the strangeness that happens when a real body interacts with a fully created environment.
MH: It looks like you’ve been influenced by fashion and the way an outfit or collection can pull together tons of associations to produce something new but recognizable. What’s your background? If it’s not part of your earlier work, how did you end up incorporating some of the techniques of fashion in your own work?
HC: Coming from a background in fiber art, I have always made clothing and find a lot of technical satisfaction in the process of making a garment. I designed a collection for a local fashion show in Kansas City in 2013. I had always wanted to stay far away from the “fashion world,” but that experience made me reconsider making clothing and its different applications. Functional things started becoming more important to me and I wanted to somehow incorporate them into my artwork. I started thinking of garments as another mark in an image or installation. This, in turn made the body more prominent in the work.
My senior thesis show was a collaboration with Brittany Ficken. We created a collection of sculptural objects, garments, and images that were displayed simultaneously in a gallery space. It was a performative event, models entered the space wearing garments and objects that were removed and installed in the gallery. We thought a lot about blurring the lines of functional and non-functional, and raising questions about the hierarchy formed between art and everyday objects. Since that show, I’ve started printing my collage work onto fabric for garments and accessories. I feel like both sides of my practice are constantly informing each other.
This June I am designing for the West 18th Street Fashion show with another friend and collaborator Mariah Gillespie under our brand name, TWO. Our online shop will launch June 14th at www.shoptwo.cool.