Studio Arts Closeup: Hannah Gardner

Sophomore Studio Arts major Hannah Gardner shies away from the camera as she speaks about her triptych series depicting the Prague astronomical clock. “The clock tells old Czech time, Roman time and modern time,” she says. From one image to the next, the colors vary and the clockface shifts. “It’s meant to indicate that time is passing, time is changing. I also left the hands off, because it’s like, there is no time.”

Gardner’s Focus

All of Gardner’s recent paintings came out of her Layers and Series class. She prefers working from photographs. “Most of my work is very straightforward,” she says. “Like, look at the clock, see what’s missing.”

Abstract work tends to be more challenging for her. One of her assignments for class included painting an image of a piece of tin foil. “People could see all sorts of stuff in it. I’ve heard berries and vaginas. I see hands and craters.”

Vibrant red poppies hang against a weathered piece of wood in another of Gardner’s paintings. This assignment tasked students with creating a visual representation of a song. Gardner chose John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” She imagines the piece as part of a larger image, where the poppies hang on the side of a barn or a stable. “It reminds me of my uncle’s house,” she says.

Under the Influence

Surprisingly, Gardner says she does not gain inspiration from any particular artists. “I look at different artists and I see that I can take stuff from them, but that’s as far as it goes. Georgia O’Keeffe, the colors she does, the flowers she does, they’re so fantastic. She’s the closest one. Maybe Degas. I know they’ve all influenced me, but there’s not one that I look up to.”

Gardner relies more on instinct and ideas that strike her as interesting. “We went to a gallery in town that had art from the Renaissance to more modern pieces. All of the figures were really rapturous and looking up to Heaven. So I decided to do a piece with all of these really rapturous figures looking at a bunch of bananas.”

Forthcoming Work

Gardner looks forward to her thesis show for her senior year. “Where it’s going to be and what it will be about, I have no idea. I like to go with the flow.”

Gardner says that while the semester started off rocky, “because of that foil painting,” she has really enjoyed the last couple of weeks. “The teachers here are very open to letting you do what you want. Having a good semester means feeling like you’ve accomplished something and being happy with what you’ve accomplished. I can accomplish a lot, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. You have to like what you do.”