In her practice, Hannah Rowan engages with various entities that evolve within water, from the gigantic to the microscopic, and with the affects generated by our contact with the element – seeking, though a series of gestures related to moulding, casting, and imprinting, assembling and shaping, collecting and performing, to reflect on the relationships between our bodies and the environments in which they exist. Her practice is in line with the tenets of ecofeminism; she seeks to undo hierarchies related to human presence in the natural world, operating with a profound and particular sensibility that avoids the dangers of over-extraction: choosing, rather than directly taking, elements from the natural world as is and putting them into installations, to replicate their seductive and slippery forms through material processes.
During her residency, Rowan produced an impressive quantity of ceramics, to be presented in different configurations that include wall mounting, self-standing, and grouping in an installation. With small metal hooks, she has joined together octopus tentacles, grouped in arrangements that suggest sun rays or constellations. She has put together hanging columns of ceramic shells and algae, glistening in blue, green, black, and brown, strung together alongside clay beads. If her colour palette seems informed by the hues found in nature, especially those observed on the river shore in St-Jean-Port-Joli, it also avoids the trappings of pure mimicry, as she chooses to operate with slight variations in tone that highlight the making of each object. Most of the works can be presented as is, but some are transformed into utilitarian objects; tentacles become candlestick holders, or oyster shells become vessels for presentation. In this way, Rowan offers poignant parallels between the variety of shapes found in nature and how they are echoed in the tools and technologies that we have developed to move within the world.
Hannah Rowan is a multidisciplinary artist based in London, UK. She makes sculptural works that are meditations on the relationship between the slow geological time of natural processes and the fast-paced, technology-driven frenetic activity of humans. She uses both synthetic and organic materials in her ephemeral, multifaceted constructions. Hannah received her master’s degree in sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London, and a BA (honours) in fine art from Central Saint Martins, London. She has exhibited across Europe and North America and received grants from Arts Council England and the Gilbert Bayes Trust. She has attended residencies at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, the Vermont Studio Centre, the Wassaic Project, and as part of the Arctic Circle Arts and Sciences Expedition, Svalbard.