July 3 - 25, 2015
Painting on velvet has a long and kitsch history. It can be tricky territory. Hannah Beehre would have acknowledged such tradition with a smile, as she set out on this pathway to something new.
The proposition: to re-create nebulae, or at the very least the illusion of deep starry space, on velvet. Her response: to use dye, acrylic and Swarovski crystals on velvet not actually black, but white.
In the most successful of these works, Eta Carinae and Carina for example, swirling galactic light is suggested in fluid waves of coloured dye. Slightly weightier areas of brushed paint with edges more defined, offer handsome counterpoint. Sometimes gold and silver leaf add shimmer in small areas where the velvet pile is excoriated to its backing. And of course, variously sized and carefully placed Swarovski crystals add further lustre and colour.
There is a directness to these works that is richly rewarding. They are both accessible yet strange. Tarantula could be straight out of the Otira Gorge: Van der Velden meets Beehre in the new millennium, lit not by the light of the moon or of the fireflies we might associate with the young Beehre (in Postcard to Dr Jacoby, 2008, for example) but beneath a sparkling crystal plane. As in the weirdly wonderful Dr Jacoby, the challenge for Hannah Beehre now is to go big.
List of works
Cat’s Paw Swarovski crystal & acrylic on velvet 700 x 500mm