On Wednesday the 11th of April Hannah Jensen will be opening her much anticipated solo show WILD at Allpress Studio. A follow-on from her 2017 solo show, WILD: In The Making, WILD is a chance for Hannah to celebrate with everyone these amazing pieces she’s been working on for the past few years. She so kindly allowed us to come and capture her finishing off the pieces in her studio and shared with us where her ideas for the show came from and how she’s feeling leading up to the show.
1. Tell us about the idea for the show and where it all started?
The idea seeded the day after my first show at Allpress Gallery, November 2013. I had just completed 50 small works that hung in the stupendous space and the drive to do large-scale works, was at an all-time high. I had spent the day on the boat, swimming with dolphins and being fully connected to nature. I knew then I wanted to create the sense of being in the wild and so in time, the idea of doing epic wild animal portraits emerged. I wanted to emulate the feeling of being face to face with these beautiful creatures. It’s a rarity in this day and age, other than the more common zoo visits or seeing them in sanctuaries. I wanted to celebrate their beauty, intricate details and differences, whilst encouraging the viewer to also connect with the broader ideas of sustainable living and our environmental footprint.
However a show of this size takes not only physical strength but mental and it took me a couple of years to settle on the full show, but slowly and surely the animals became apparent and with plenty of research the images were chosen. I am very lucky to have spent many hours walking around Dads game reserve and also a few visits to Kruger National Park in South Africa; that feeling of being in their space and in their presence is mind-blowing. I hope I have in some way created that feeling and in doing so, have honoured them.
Doing a show is really about the right timing and WILD needed time and energy to create it, but also time for the story to unfold. For example the Camargue Horses were layered in Winter 2015 with 34 litres of paint, drawn in April 2016 and the piece will be finished this week April 2018.
As the pieces came to life so did their stories, carving their history into the layers of paint.
2. How are you feeling about it all coming to an end?
It feels very surreal to be honest. It has been talked about for so long and I have spent endless hours in the studio bringing these animals to life. I am really looking forward to celebrating them all being hung on the walls of Allpress Studio and for everyone to enjoy them.
It was so awesome to have WILD IN THE MAKING as a great build-up to the final show, where I could share my carving process and the exhibition journey. I have really enjoyed creating the grand finale of WILD; not only the works themselves but designing the gallery to be filled with tropical plants and luxury furniture; a welcoming space for people to experience these epic artworks.
3. This has been a part of your life for a long time now? What’s next?
The journey of WILD has really unfolded over the last few years. Creating a show is about sharing a story and allowing the time for it to be told. With the passing of my Dad in 2016, the works took on a whole other meaning for me, they became a dedication and celebration of the time I spent on Dads game reserve, with him and the animals. I am forever grateful for having that as a part of my life and the memories I can hold on to forever. I adored exploring the farm, whether it was an early morning walk or a sunset jog, the animals were always there to keep me company.
What’s next? well, my passion to carve has only been fuelled by this latest exhibition, I have pushed myself and technique to reach another level and it’s great to be proud of that. During the last month of creating the show, Sudan the last white male rhinoceros died, I am going to do a large scale, multi-pieced artwork in honour of him and the species we have failed to protect; a memorial to Sudan. Let’s just say this show has sent me on a path to follow my heart and passion for the conservation of the incredible creatures we are so honoured to share this world with.
WILD Opening Night
Wednesday 11th April
8 Drake Street
6pm – 8pm
11th April – 27th April
Mon – Fri 7am – 3.30pm
Sat 10am – 2pm