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Art Talk | Hannah Fox

Art Talk | Hannah Fox

Melbourne-based artist Hannah Fox's latest body of work, Faraway, features a collection of abstract works, reflecting her impressions of the local environment. For Hannah, the wonder of nature and observing its beautiful details has always been a major inspiration, and her current collection is no exception. The exhibition will be open at Ours Pop Up Space in Northcote until August 6th.

Hi Hannah, tell me about the inspiration behind your current body of work Faraway? Hi Hande, thanks for having me! My recent paintings are a natural progression from my previous work. 

“I have always been fascinated with the landscape and observing the small details.”

Dappled light through the trees, peeling bark on tree trunks, shadows cast on the bush floor… it's these visual delights that I try to capture in my paintings. The current body of work for Faraway is less about the visual and more about the felt experience. The title Faraway refers to ideas of physical places one likes to escape to, and faraway thoughts, or reflective headspace that one seeks insight within.

  Landscape with Blue  series 2016. Styling by Jackie Brown. Photography - Martin Polley.

Landscape with Blue series 2016. Styling by Jackie Brown. Photography - Martin Polley.

When was your love for painting first sparked? I was always creative as a child. Never far from paper, pencils and glue! As I grew up I began to realise I had a ‘knack’ for drawing and a natural understanding of colour and composition. I loved anything to do with art and craft, photography, design, and even architecture. At age 9 I remember drawing floor plans for my parents to suggest a better design for our kitchen…it just was not functional! Then came painting in secondary school. I had a fabulous art teacher who believed in me and encouraged my creative direction. paint and brush just felt right. I continued to study Fine Art at university…

“It was there I learnt the beauty of oil painting and the endless possibilities with paint.”
  Faraway #2  2017. Photo - Martina Gemmola.

Faraway #2 2017. Photo - Martina Gemmola.

Where do you go for inspiration - is there ever any shortage? Never a shortage of inspiration! It is everywhere. I would love to be amongst nature permanently… as the landscape is where I find most inspiration. But living inner city in Melbourne, I have to find it locally. I am lucky to have a beautiful inner urban creek where I walk and ponder many times during the week. I need this time to look and observe and be mindful.

 An artwork from  Faraway.  Photo – courtesy of the artist.

An artwork from Faraway. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Describe your creative process? I have never really thought I have a process! But I suppose I do! I sketch with charcoal or pencil, just mark making, remembering or observing the lines that I see. I don’t paint directly from these sketches - it is just a way of observing and getting down lines and shapes, then when I paint it's mostly intuitive. I think about colour and light and loose myself in the act of painting - I often work on 5-6 canvases at once so I never feel stuck on one painting. Colour mixing is an important aspect...

“I can spend a whole morning developing the right pink or the right black - it’s a delightful way to spend a day.”
  "Dappled light through the trees, peeling bark on tree trunks, shadows cast on the bush floor, it is these visual delights I try to capture in my paintings."  Photo - Martina Gemmola.

"Dappled light through the trees, peeling bark on tree trunks, shadows cast on the bush floor, it is these visual delights I try to capture in my paintings." Photo - Martina Gemmola.

As an artist, what’s your favourite medium to work with?  
Oil paint is my love. With oils you can achieve depth and luminosity not possible with other mediums. Once I started with oils at university, I have never gone back.

What does colour mean to you? Colour means life! Colour has the ability to transform your mood, feelings and opinions. A world without colour would not survive. 

  Moody Landscape  2015, Goulburn Valley House, Rob Kennon Architects. Photo - Derek Swalwell

Moody Landscape 2015, Goulburn Valley House, Rob Kennon Architects. Photo - Derek Swalwell

What’s the most rewarding part of working as an artist? Without doubt, when a person purchases your work with their hard earned money because they adore the painting and know it will give them a lifetime of joy. 

“I feel very privileged.”

What's the most important element in your work? The most important element is when I ‘know’ a painting is finished. It’s impossible to describe why or how this happens. But I know when a painting is not resolved and I can’t possibly show anyone until it's complete and I am happy with it. Having said that, I am never really satisfied! I am always keen to move onto the next painting and see what new creations arise.

 An artwork from  Faraway.  Photo – courtesy of the artist.

An artwork from Faraway. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Is there a theme you often return to when painting? My theme is simply the joy of painting. I spent a long time worrying that my work was not conceptual enough or not making a point. What is the intellectual significance of my work? Soon enough I realised my work was significant in other ways. 

“My theme is beauty and soul - it’s about us amongst the landscape of life… just trying to figure it out”
 Melbourne-based artist Hannah Fox in her studio.

Melbourne-based artist Hannah Fox in her studio.

What’s in store for you in 2017? My goodness we are half way through the year already! I am so happy to be currently presenting Faraway as a solo show. It's always nerve wracking wondering how my paintings will be received, yet it is a thrill to see a body of new work come together. I'm also looking forward to exhibiting with friend and talented artist Bec Smith later in the year. Conceptually and aesthetically, our paintings differ, yet we share a passion for the abstract. It will be great to see the juxtaposition of our work exhibited side by side. I'm also super-excited to be spending a week in Singapore with my 7 year old son visiting his best friend. Memory making stuff! 

Thank you Hannah! Hannah Fox @hannahfoxart

Faraway by Hannah Fox  
July 26th to August 6th
Ours Pop-up Space
277 High Street, Northcote Melbourne

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