Bob van Orsouw

Hannah Greely

Little Falls

01 Sep - 13 Oct 2012

Entanglement with Silver Cup, 2012, Steel wire, ca. 30 x 58 x 40 cm.
Copyright the Artist / Courtesy Galerie Bob van Orsouw, Zürich
Galerie Bob van Orsouw take great pleasure in hosting a solo show of American artist Hannah Greely, her first-ever exhibition in Switzerland.

Greely often replicates everyday objects. Except for her use of unlikely materials, some of her earlier sculptures would be precise reproductions of food, beer bottles or pieces of furniture. Her strategy creates a subtle semantic shift and playfully estranges her objects from the familiar. In a very recent series, the artist takes inspiration from classic works of art, transforming Jean Siméon Chardin‘s 1768 still-life Silver Cup, for example, into a metal-wire sculpture that reflects the original exactly to scale. Her Entanglement with Silver Cup (2012) returns Chardin‘s still-life to its original three-dimensionality. The less than flexible wire also produces a wealth of twists and turns that all but eclipse the original‘s figurative components. Greely‘s three-dimensional still-lifes and their playful dialogue with visual traditions result in a genuinely artistic idiom.

In Super Cell, a sculpture that rises to a height of three meters, Greely has set herself the challenge of sculpturally representing an evanescent phenomenon. Her literal take on the subject matter displays a delicate sense of humor: a cloudburst is evoked by a gray-coloured foam „cloud“ held aloft by a number of steel rods that plunge into a polished, unevenly-shaped steel plinth suggesting a puddle. The steely „rain“ reveals the outline of a human figure struggling through the „puddle“. Greely‘s most recent sculptures occasionally betray anthropomorphic traits. In Eyewitness, the careful placement on a table-top of two crystal balls surrounded by ornamental twists of steel suggests human eyeballs and eyebrows. The crystals‘ shiny surfaces make the audience feel that the sculpture follows them with its „gaze“.

Hannah Greely‘s show at Galerie Bob van Orsouw includes a copious cycle of drawings. As she notes, the artist does not perceive them as preliminary studies to her sculptures but as an autonomous part of her work: „My drawings I make as a way to stay open creatively. I usually draw them just after I wake up so that my mind is open and closer to the dream state. It is then that signs and symbols enjoy looser associations and are freer from run of the mill logic and new ideas can form. They are done in a kind of children‘s book illustrative style to keep them from being taken too seriously as ideas. I would prefer them to be seen as moments or scenes that suggest a narrative but are ambiguous, open ended, and constantly changing.”

Hannah Greely‘s works featured at the Biennials of São Paulo (2011) and Venice (2003), at the Whitney Biennial, New York City (2010 and 2006), and in various exhibitions including the Rubell Family Collection / Contemporary Arts Foundation, Miami (2011), the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, Norway (2008), the Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Poland (2007), and the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2005). Greely was born in Dickson, Tennessee, in 1979; she lives and works in Los Angeles.

© Translation from German: Margret Powell-Joss

Tags: Hannah Greely, Margret