Kathryn Hanna’s artistic practice explores the relationship between the ancient and the modern. Through her work she seeks to provoke thought and discussion around tradition, sacredness, monuments and place in relation to the past and the present. She explores how spaces or objects make you think and feel, and how they might provide a moment for reflection.
Hanna’s practice is significantly influenced by Ian Hamilton Finlay, an experimental poet, artist and gardener who created the ‘Little Sparta’ garden, his greatest work of art, in the Pentland Hills. Like Finlay, Hanna’s work explores the written work in relation to antiquity, place and person.
Hanna’s current body of work is influenced by writings from scholars, authors, theologians and archeologists who examine ancient works, uncovered through linguistic analysis and physical excavation.
André Parrot, French Archaeologist, Theologian and Director of the Louvre Museum in Paris from 1968 – 1972, wrote a series of books in 1955 documenting his discoveries of ancient worlds. Hanna admires Parrot’s research, and his books have inspired her artwork since her degree show at Glasgow School of Art.
Hanna’s work often explores religious consciousness, through a queer lens. Her sculptures examine what it means to be ‘sacred’, a disillusionment with the wholly secular, and how the past can speak to the present.
Jesmonite, Activated Copper Pigment
– This sculpture explores the artists experience of both connection and disconnection on several levels: the equal disillusionment of the sacred and the secular, the division of queer neurodiverse experience.
Plaster, Shellac, Activated Bronze Pigment
Two vessels standing adjacent to one another are reminiscent of standing columns, the entrance to an unnamed space, an archway to another place. In this piece the artist was investigating the relationship between two distant figures, and directs the viewer’s attention to the transient spaces or ‘passing places’.
Archway I and II, 2022
Jesmonite, Activated Bronze Pigment
The archway is an architectural feature which appeared as early as the 2nd millennium BC, in ancient Mesopotamia. Here, the arch is representative of the support in family structures. This artwork uses two arches to represent the supportive structure of family, and was influenced by sculptor Barbara Hepworth, particularly her work ‘Mother and Child’ (1934).
Héreś I, II and III, 2022
Plaster, Silver Wax
This artwork was inspired by a quote from Tertullian, 155 AD, What if you come to feel that what we call a loss is a gain?, and in reading The Ceramic Vocabulary of the Old Testament where the artist discovered the term ‘Héreś’ referring to pottery which has been broken. In this piece vessels have been broken and sliced in a deliberate way, carving new silhouettes and creating consideration of new uses.
Of the Past, Of the Present, 2022
Black Limestone, Flint
André Parrot was noted for discovering the ancient Mesopotamian city of Mari. In his book ’Discovering Buried Worlds’ Parrot describes a short history of archaeology through the lens of his excavations in Mari in 1953.
– In these desert lands the explorers have advanced. Under the excavator’s pick age-old civilisations have reappeared. They were thought to be dead. They were only sleeping
‘Of the Past, Of the Present’ explores this quote – how things that were true in the past are just as true and relevant now. The Northern Irish Flint used in the making of this piece was gifted to the artist by her grandmother, representing that passing of knowledge and belongings from the past through generations spoken of in Parrot’s quote.
About Kathryn Hanna
Kathryn Hanna is a sculptor and socially engaged artist who graduated from the Sculpture and Environmental Art
Programme, Glasgow School of Art, in 2017. Hanna lives in Glasgow and works out of her studio in Blantyre, creating artworks which reflect on antiquity and the sacred, exploring the relevancies of the past within the present. In addition to her studio practice, Hanna is driven to make the arts accessible, and works with communities, schools, councils and arts organisations to deliver creative programmes and to develop public artworks.
Hanna was recently commissioned by the David Elder Edward Trust to create a public artwork, Pathways for South Ayrshire, responding the COVID-19 pandemic. Hanna is currently the Country Parks Artist in Residence for North Lanarkshire Council, and is the Lead Artist for South Lanarkshire’s ‘Remembering Together Covid Memorial Project.’ Hanna’s artwork has been exhibited publicly at Pollok House, Glasgow (2017); The Maclaurin Art Gallery, Ayr (2018 & 2022). Selected group shows include NORTH, Visual Art Scotland, Inverness (2022); It’ll Be Alright, Alchemy Experiment, Glasgow (2023); WEST, Visual Art Scotland, Glasgow (2023).