Hannah van Bart
The Smudge Waves Back
New York, 509 West 24th Street
In her tempestuous oil paintings, Dutch artist Hannah van Bart delves into representation of psychological portraits of her models. Committing to a modest color spectrum in each work, she initiates a conversation with her model who generally poses aloof and estranged from their surrounding, yet strongly attached to the viewer through their piercing gaze. Using found imagery or her own memory as her source material, the Amsterdam-based painter maneuvers around realistic depiction and fluid recollection in her poetic and contemplative paintings.
True to its title, The Smudge Waves Back, introduces a group of paintings in which her models, mostly women, blend into their surroundings, blurring the border between body and space. Their timeless and ageless presence complicates the notions of belonging and identity; however, their complex facial expressions and detailed attires build further dialogues with the audience. Perched on a seat or leaning onto a wall, her models contain various emotions ranging from joyous to somber to dazed, challenging the viewers’ understandings of traditional portraiture.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalog featuring an essay by Allie Biswas. "I build my paintings with bricks made of damp, moist air. Or at least that is how it sometimes feels for me. As a young person I lived near an old castle and spent many hours drawing that castle. This group of works brought that experience back to me. I work until I feel there is something happening that makes me look and then makes me look again,” said van Bart.
On view through February 4, 2017