My housemates and I visited an exhibition at The Holden Gallery in Manchester, showing some of Jonny Hannah's latest work. This was also the first time I attended an official exhibition launch, and it was quite intimidating being around a room full of such knowledgeable artists/critics/ whoever else they were. I got the sense that a lot of the people weren't really appreciating the work. Overall, it felt like more of a social occassion; an opportunity to try and make connections with the people attending the event or to assert your presence as an artist yourself. We felt rather out of our depth and timid about approaching people, but managed to talk to a few people there, including two women from Ink Illustration who seemed keen on giving us advice, which was nice!
Before the exhibition I'd never paid a great deal of attention to Hannah's work, but seeing it so up-close made me realise how much I like it. It was presented on a black board with wooden pegs through bulldog clips pinning the work up, which looked very neat and made the work stand out. The lack of frames and glass covering the paper made it accessible-within touching distance. I appreciated how the more labour-intensive pieces were displayed amongst what looked like quick ink paintings/drawings- it's encouraging seeing how such an accomplished artist can still enjoy doing work which seems more care-free and spontaneous. In fact I found a lot of the simple black ink paintings more engaging than the bigger, more detailed pieces.
The first thing that grabbed my attention was this:
The simple dress shape suggests the symbolism of a woman. Perhaps this music is relevant personally to Hannah, relating to the lyrics. I have found the song particularly moving since discovering it in the soundtrack of 'Candy', when it is played at the heartbreaking ending. Hannah's hand-painted lyrics seem to be expressive of his own connection to the song, shown by certain lines drawn bigger and darker than others. I'm not sure exactly what drew me to this piece; it is so simple, and I have a weakness for elegant hand-drawn type.
Here is a trailer for Candy (I highly recommend it!):
Tim Buckley's Song To The Siren:
This was probably my favourite one of his ink drawings on display. The mark-making is so simple but charming. By displaying work that looks like it could be hidden away in a sketchbook, Hannah has exposed his unprocessed drawing style, something which I think is far more insightful into the mind of the artist than a piece of work which is more clearly the 'final product' of a project, and therefore often a lot more interesting.