Oslo-based artist Sarah Johanne Hannevik presents mixed media collage work in solo exhibition If not now, when?
May 2 - 14th at Sjøholmen Kulturhus Opening reception: Tuesday, May 2 / 18-20
There are some strong forces at work with this new body of work. It was created during a time where I had so many thoughts swirling in my head. Thoughts about loss, grief, identity and healing. A rather heavy but also hopeful state of mind. I hope this translated into a collection that feels reflected but also hopeful and resilient.
In the studio, I spent a lot of time exploring my ever expanding collection of paper and fabric, thinking of how I could create hand painted elements that fit well with my favorite bits of vintage paper and embroidered fabric. With this collection I have traveled into a world of botanical shapes and pattern. This is new for me but has felt like a breath of fresh air. Drawing these shapes, not having a plan in mind and just seeing where the pencil takes me, has been such a freeing process. I think the collection has a refreshing balance between what was and what is - craft traditions of the past mixed with contemporary colors and shapes.
I didn't want the aged feeling of the vintage paper to dominate, instead I wanted it to be a hint or a whisper of voices from the past. For me, there is a lot of interest in a composition that mixes old and new, aged and vibrant. As for the voices, I didn't want them to dominate either. How to respect the past, learn from it and create something new, something whole and hopeful for the future? Despite using vintage materials, I am not an overly nostalgic person. That being said, I think there is a craftmanship that we, in our mass produced world, have lost. I have been especially interested in forgotten bits of embroidery found in markets. I can just imagine a mother sitting in a dimly lit room, her 6 children finally in bed, working on an embroidered tablecloth for the sole purpose of beautifying her home. So many pieces I have come across have impressed me - expert craftmanship, but forgotten at a neighborhood flea market. I am compelled to save them and honor them in some way, honor that past but not live there.
I hope people can find a way to relate to my work. There are themes that we all think about and wrestle with. These works evolved over a span of a few months. Months where I thought about what gives me joy, what do I need to surround myself that gives me joy, energy and beauty, what do I need to heal my own grief? The work was created from a place of play, reflection and a feeling that I refuse to let anyone or anything stand in the way of a beautiful life, my beautiful life - with all its dents and holes, all it's glitter and light, sadness and joy - we all have this one life, so If not now, when?