Melbournian artist Camille Hannah wants to challenge you. She wants to make you wonder about the contrasts between painting, photography and sculpture, and blur the lines between tradition and modernity. Hannah works on perspex, painting luscious strokes of oils onto the back of convex domed circles, using handmade brushes – a skill she picked up during an artist residency in China. Her palettes are moody and sumptuous, the rich colours reminiscent of a Caravaggio.
Hannah’s works are 3-dimensional and painted on convex supports. As a material object they embody a spatiality that also challenges the distinction between painting and photography, painting and sculpture. As with her previous work, scale probes the limits of the visible with baroque play and the viewer must penetrate a space that represents the body- a foreign body – in order to see the image within.
If painting circular pictures is problematic, spare a thought for artists who attempt to also paint on convex glass or perspex. It’s a punishingly tricky prospect, and so it’s doubly amazing that oil on convex Perspex abstracts – manages to pull it off. In essence, Hannah’s final paintings are evidence of the reverse of her process, the gestural paint strokes, details and other ‘foreground’ features are the first laid down, while the backgrounds and other effects are the last.
Her works aim to address the viewer at the threshold of vision and touch. As seeing relies on a plurality of sense organs, there is a visual correlation that compels perception to fleetingly pass through the sense of touch. This discrepancy between visual and tactile perception becomes a frontier area of sensation. There is a bodily presence in a wavering relation of moving outward and drawing back, identification and distancing. By inciting the viewer to move – the visual field of the works aim to be the space that envelops the viewer.
Where space comes forward: the threshold of two and three dimensional representation of the flat image and the image-in-space and the concomitant compulsion to incorporate becomes an easily – crossed threshold of perception – an opening toward a dialectic between the interior and exterior, and the centre and its edges. These paintings are labyrinthine: the folds and curves aim to engage the body at the threshold of seduction and recoil, an interactivity that can never be construed on the basis of stillness. In this respect they strive to hold the viewer in a temporality by way of a ‘spatial stickiness’.
See Camille’s AUSiMED artwork here.