Rachel Hannan grew up in Newcastle, went to art school there and sang in various bands, but always felt somehow out of place within the beach culture.
In 1994 pregnant with their first child, she and her then partner went to the Blue Mountains on a whim.
“The images I had of Katoomba were the old photos my dad had taken of my young pregnant mother on their honeymoon, elegantly poised above the waterfalls and views. When I stepped out of my old VW Bug on Main St Katoomba, I felt like I’d finally come home”.
Hannan had no support or connections as a young mother in the Mountains but the intriguing and dramatic landscape, snaked through with walking tracks held solace for her. It reminded her of her childhood riding horses alone in the untouched bush.
Hannan’s works, drawing inspiration from her surrounding, are in Brazen, her solo show with Day Gallery Blackheath.
“In this new body of work I have been less attached to details and more interested in portraying the sense of a place, combined with memories and experiences I have had by the time I land in the studio.”
Some of the works have also been done en plein air. Hannan is acutely affected by the relationships in her life, music, conversations, the weather and the chaos often around her as three of her four children still live with her or nearby.
Juxtaposed with the assertive strokes and thick impasto are smaller more intimate areas and translucent layers where one can explore and rest in the more meditative sections of the works.
The works in Brazen have all been inspired by travels nearby, Hannan’s own garden and west of the Blue Mountains. They have been created this year and the colours and execution of the paintings reflect her passion and attachment to this extraordinary place in all of its seasons and times of day.
“This land can be bold and brash, and one must be brave in attempting to capture its extremes and often untouched beauty.”
Brazen opens Saturday, November 3, 2–4pm at Day Gallery 27-29 Govetts Leap Road Blackheath. The exhibition runs until November 25.
Everyone who attends Brazen will go into the draw to win an original oil by the artist. Winner will be notified at the end of the exhibition.