SHAPES ON A PLANE
31 OCT – 24 NOV 2012
Shapes on a Plane is Sydney painter and sculptor Michelle Hanlin’s exciting sixth solo exhibition at Gallery 9.
Hanlin’s work whimsically commentates and breaks down frameworks of conventional subject matter such as the portrait and still-life. Her recent exhibition in 2011 comprised busts and dealt with cultural associations to heredity, ancestry and descent. The subjects, heads and shoulders appeared without facial features, reconfigured as abstract arrangements and patterns in dramatic colours which recurred across the images to suggest communal heredity. As the series expanded, some features would be lost, while new ones appear and though the subjects’ identities were obscured, abstract elements combined to form figurative based narratives.
Describing the intersection of abstraction and figuration in her work Hanlin states her “work plays with various art historical tropes, recombining and re-interpreting different artistic conventions, genres and forms into compositions at once familiar and strange.” Instead of making forms too literal Hanlin employs abstract shaps and colour to evoke her expressive and emotive narratives. This exhibition’s title, Shapes on a Plane refer to the canvas as a 2D stage or set in which her invented characters and theatrical props await animation. As the set which confines them has been flattened Hanlin’s abstract, geometric shapes are enlivened with subtle yet effective shadows which bestow a sense of immenent performance.
Hanlin graduated from Sydney College of the Arts in 2003, and she was a finalist in the Helen Lempriere prize in 2004. Her work is in the collection of Artbank, Wollongong City Gallery and private collections around Australia. She has exhibited since 1999 and her work has been seen extensively in galleries across Sydney as well as in Melbourne, Hobart and Adelaide.