WASHINGTON, D.C.

ARTPAPERS

July / August 2003 By George Howell
1821 Murray Manor

Some shows are about seeing.

While    GREG    HANNAN’S    “2000-2002”    (Signal    66,    February    21- March   19,   2003)   requires   careful   looking,   once   you   are   caught in     his     snare,     feeling-in,     both     senses-replaces     vision.     For instance,   many   of   his   sculptures   incorporate   playthings   like toy   soldiers   and   tennis   balls,   objects   casually   picked   up   and tossed   aside.   Hannan’s   retrieval   of   these   castoffs   emphasizes their   tactile   character,   which   makes   his   graphic   works   all   the more   surprising   because   you’d   think   a   sculptor   lured   by   the physicality    of    things    would    avoid    the    illusionism    of    trompe l’oeil.    However,    a    powerful    nostalgia    tinged    with    bitterness underlies everything. Hannan   is   a   long   time   figure   in   the   DC   art   scene,   part   gadfly   or part   conscience,   depending   on   how   you   read   his   very   public complaints,      especially      that      local      talent      is      frequently overlooked   by   the   major   institutions   here.   Like   Jeff   Spaulding, another     Washington-area     sculptor,     Hannan’s     work     melds poetic    illusion    with    deft    craftsmanship    and,    like    Spaulding, Hannan   has   a   scavenger’s   sensibility.   In   gallery   talks,   Hannan often   describes   salvaging   fixtures   from   demolished   buildings to    restore    abandoned    memories,    though    his    work    at    times seems sidetracked by a quirky arbitrariness. Hannan’s          carved          wood          pieces demonstrate   both   a   craftsman’s   skill   and a   con   man’s   art.   The   beautifully   polished surface   of   Abbadon   (sculpture   #1)   (1998- 2002)   almost   tricks   us   into   not   noticing that    this    oversized,    muscularly    carved toy     soldier’s     armless     upper     torso     is twisted    100    and    eighty    degrees.    The large   solitary   doll’s   leg   of   Heroic   Study   #1 (2001)      is      wood      simulating      cheap, crimped        plastic.        Hannan        invokes nostalgia,   though   the   deceitful   surfaces send up warning flags. But     Hannan’s     surface     treatment     can send    so    many    mixed    signals    that    the work is almost unreadable. The      swimming      flat      worm      of      Logo (Anellida   Gallerista)   (2002)   is   carved   with the   same   attention   to   detail   as   Abbadon, but    camouflaged    by    a    grid    laid    on    a painterly    surface    as    scruffy    as    an    old linoleum floor. Gallerista    suggests    a    pot    short    at    art market bottom feeders, but who can tell?
Hand   crafting   is   also   key   to   Hannan’s   assemblages,   as   in   a series   of   abacus-like   forms,   a   cross   between   decayed   window louvers    and    prayer    beads.    The    dark    earth    toned    wood    of Progeny    5    (2000)    is    a    subtle    frame    for    a    grid    of    brown, corroded   tennis   balls.   Seemingly   rougher,   Making   a   Saint   #2 (St.   Theresa   Avila)   (2002)   appears   built   from   salvaged   lumber, the    chipped    paint    embracing    the    traces    of    imperfection. Hannan   mixes   abandonment,   devotion   and   saintliness   into   a weird blend of discipline, control and despair. Heart   of   Glass   31   (2002)   is   an   arresting   piece.   Its   turtle-shell surface    is    built    from    small    pieces    of    glass    cut    and    fitted together,    its    valves    formed    out    of    bottle    mouths.    What triggered    that    imaginative    leap,    from    a    case    of    broken bottles, washed up on the shore, to a mending heart? Finally,    Hannan’s    graphic    works    appear,    at    first    sight,    to contradict    his    sculptural    impulses,    relying    on    trompe    l’oeil illusionism. Couple    #1    (no.    1)    (2001)    looks    like    a    painted    replica    of    a salvages   warehouse   door,   but   it   is   built   from   neatly   fitted rectangles   of   red   paper   referring   to   the   London   art   scene. More     closed     doors     in the   art   world?   Couple #1       (N0.       2)       (2001) recalls     William     Wiley with          its          buried h   a   n   d   w   r   i   t   t   e   n     messages.                  The uniformly           beat-up surface        belies        its carefully        assembled elements,       such       as sheets    of    typewritten notes        folded        and bunched     together     to form         tree         roots. Suggesting   a   battered magnolia,   the   painting is         enigmatic         and inscrutable. Like      a      poet,      Greg Hannan         forms         a curious                  rhyme between    salvage    and salvation,   though   his   deft illusionism cautions us against giving in to first impressions. Published in Artpapers.org July / August 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C.

ARTPAPERS

July / August 2003 By George Howell

Some shows are about seeing.

While   GREG   HANNAN’S   “2000-2002”   (Signal   66,   February   21-March   19,   2003)   requires careful   looking,   once   you   are   caught   in   his   snare,   feeling-in,   both   senses-replaces   vision. For   instance,   many   of   his   sculptures   incorporate   playthings   like   toy   soldiers   and   tennis balls,   objects   casually   picked   up   and   tossed   aside.   Hannan’s   retrieval   of   these   castoffs emphasizes    their    tactile    character,    which    makes    his    graphic    works    all    the    more surprising   because   you’d   think   a   sculptor   lured   by   the   physicality   of   things   would   avoid the   illusionism   of   trompe   l’oeil.   However,   a   powerful   nostalgia   tinged   with   bitterness underlies everything. Hannan    is    a    long    time    figure    in    the    DC    art    scene,    part    gadfly    or    part    conscience, depending   on   how   you   read   his   very   public   complaints,   especially   that   local   talent   is frequently    overlooked    by    the    major    institutions    here.    Like    Jeff    Spaulding,    another Washington-area   sculptor,   Hannan’s   work   melds   poetic   illusion   with   deft   craftsmanship and,   like   Spaulding,   Hannan   has   a   scavenger’s   sensibility.   In   gallery   talks,   Hannan   often describes   salvaging   fixtures   from   demolished   buildings   to   restore   abandoned   memories, though his work at times seems sidetracked by a quirky arbitrariness. Hannan’s   carved   wood   pieces   demonstrate   both   a   craftsman’s   skill   and   a   con   man’s   art. The   beautifully   polished   surface   of   Abbadon   (sculpture   #1)   (1998-2002)   almost   tricks   us into   not   noticing   that   this   oversized,   muscularly   carved   toy   soldier’s   armless   upper   torso is   twisted   100   and   eighty   degrees.   The   large   solitary   doll’s   leg   of   Heroic   Study   #1   (2001)   is wood   simulating   cheap,   crimped   plastic.   Hannan   invokes   nostalgia,   though   the   deceitful surfaces send up warning flags. But   Hannan’s   surface   treatment   can   send   so   many   mixed   signals   that   the   work   is   almost unreadable. The      swimming      flat      worm      of      Logo      (Anellida Gallerista)   (2002)   is   carved   with   the   same   attention to   detail   as   Abbadon,   but   camouflaged   by   a   grid laid    on    a    painterly    surface    as    scruffy    as    an    old linoleum floor. Gallerista    suggests    a    pot    short    at    art    market bottom feeders, but who can tell? Hand   crafting   is   also   key   to   Hannan’s   assemblages, as   in   a   series   of   abacus-like   forms,   a   cross   between decayed    window    louvers    and    prayer    beads.    The dark    earth    toned    wood    of    Progeny    5    (2000)    is    a subtle   frame   for   a   grid   of   brown,   corroded   tennis balls.    Seemingly    rougher,    Making    a    Saint    #2    (St. Theresa   Avila)   (2002)   appears   built   from   salvaged lumber,   the   chipped   paint   embracing   the   traces   of imperfection.       Hannan       mixes       abandonment, devotion    and    saintliness    into    a    weird    blend    of discipline, control and despair. Heart   of   Glass   31   (2002)   is   an   arresting   piece.   Its turtle-shell    surface    is    built    from    small    pieces    of glass   cut   and   fitted   together,   its   valves   formed   out of   bottle   mouths.   What   triggered   that   imaginative leap, from a case of broken bottles, washed up on the shore, to a mending heart? Finally,    Hannan’s    graphic    works    appear,    at    first    sight,    to    contradict    his    sculptural impulses, relying on trompe l’oeil illusionism. Couple   #1   (no.   1)   (2001)   looks   like   a   painted   replica   of   a   salvages   warehouse   door,   but   it is   built   from   neatly   fitted   rectangles   of   red   paper   referring   to   the   London   art   scene.   More closed   doors   in   the   art   world?   Couple   #1   (N0.   2)   (2001)   recalls   William   Wiley   with   its buried    handwritten    messages.    The    uniformly    beat-up    surface    belies    its    carefully assembled   elements,   such   as   sheets   of   typewritten   notes   folded   and   bunched   together to    form    tree    roots.    Suggesting    a    battered    magnolia,    the    painting    is    enigmatic    and inscrutable. Like   a   poet,   Greg   Hannan   forms   a   curious   rhyme   between   salvage   and   salvation,   though his deft illusionism cautions us against giving in to first impressions. Published in Artpapers.org July / August 2003  
1821 Murray Manor
1821 Murray Manor

WASHINGTON, D.C.

ARTPAPERS

July / August 2003 By George Howell

Some shows are about seeing.

While GREG HANNAN’S “2000-2002” (Signal 66, February 21-March 19, 2003) requires careful looking, once you are caught in his snare, feeling-in, both senses-replaces vision. For instance, many of his sculptures incorporate playthings like toy soldiers and tennis balls, objects casually picked up and tossed aside. Hannan’s retrieval of these castoffs emphasizes their tactile character, which makes his graphic works all the more surprising because you’d think a sculptor lured by the physicality of things would avoid the illusionism of trompe l’oeil. However, a powerful nostalgia tinged with bitterness underlies everything. Hannan is a long time figure in the DC art scene, part gadfly or part conscience, depending on how you read his very public complaints, especially that local talent is frequently overlooked by the major institutions here. Like Jeff Spaulding, another Washington-area sculptor, Hannan’s work melds poetic illusion with deft craftsmanship and, like Spaulding, Hannan has a scavenger’s sensibility. In gallery talks, Hannan often describes salvaging fixtures from demolished buildings to restore abandoned memories, though his work at times seems sidetracked by a quirky arbitrariness. Hannan’s carved wood pieces demonstrate both a craftsman’s skill and a con man’s art. The beautifully polished surface of Abbadon (sculpture #1) (1998-2002) almost tricks us into not noticing that this oversized, muscularly carved toy soldier’s armless upper torso is twisted 100 and eighty degrees. The large solitary doll’s leg of Heroic Study #1 (2001) is wood simulating cheap, crimped plastic. Hannan invokes nostalgia, though the deceitful surfaces send up warning flags. But Hannan’s surface treatment can send so many mixed signals that the work is almost unreadable. The swimming flat worm of Logo (Anellida Gallerista) (2002) is carved with the same attention to detail as Abbadon, but camouflaged by a grid laid on a painterly surface as scruffy as an old linoleum floor. Gallerista suggests a pot short at art market bottom feeders, but who can tell? Hand crafting is also key to Hannan’s assemblages, as in a series of abacus-like forms, a cross between decayed window louvers and prayer beads. The dark earth toned wood of Progeny 5 (2000) is a subtle frame for a grid of brown, corroded tennis balls. Seemingly rougher, Making a Saint #2 (St. Theresa Avila) (2002) appears built from salvaged lumber, the chipped paint embracing the traces of imperfection. Hannan mixes abandonment, devotion and saintliness into a weird blend of discipline, control and despair. Heart of Glass 31 (2002) is an arresting piece. Its turtle-shell surface is built from small pieces of glass cut and fitted together, its valves formed out of bottle mouths. What triggered that imaginative leap, from a case of broken bottles, washed up on the shore, to a mending heart? Finally, Hannan’s graphic works appear, at first sight, to contradict his sculptural impulses, relying on trompe l’oeil illusionism. Couple #1 (no. 1) (2001) looks like a painted replica of a salvages warehouse door, but it is built from neatly fitted rectangles of red paper referring to the London art scene. More closed doors in the art world? Couple #1 (N0. 2) (2001) recalls William Wiley with its buried handwritten messages. The uniformly beat-up surface belies its carefully assembled elements, such as sheets of typewritten notes folded and bunched together to form tree roots. Suggesting a battered magnolia, the painting is enigmatic and inscrutable. Like a poet, Greg Hannan forms a curious rhyme between salvage and salvation, though his deft illusionism cautions us against giving in to first impressions. Published in Artpapers.org July / August 2003