Ornis A. Gallery is proud to present the first solo exhibition Love in Amsterdam with American artist Duncan Hannah (1952) in The Netherlands.
His interest for art was already aroused during his youth. After High School he attended Bard College (1971) and went afterwards to Parsons School of Design in New York (1973). After graduation he stayed in the city and ended up in the world of Punk and No Wave. Notorious places as The Factory and The Chelsea Hotel became his universe. He could count legendary artist Andy Warhol to his inner circle. Warhol acted more than just a close friend but acted as a mentor as well. Hannah confided him once that he would like to paint as Balthus, which Warhol responded with: “Oh, what a great idea. Gee, we must do that, we’ve got to paint like Balthus!” His art also became noticed in the New York art scene when he participated in the exhibition The Times Square Show at PS 1 in 1980.
The art of Hannah has a tinge from early twentieth-century American painters. Examined with an European eye, it evokes the associations with Edward Hopper. But for Hannah, as an American, he has a wider frame of reference when it comes to Anglo-Saxon art and calls Walter Sickert (1860- 1942) his great example. At first sight his work reminds us of a peaceful pastoral postcard or vintage photograph , but this so-called perfect world has a dark side. We think we believe this idyllic world, because the realistic style of the pictures suggest a kind of truth. However, after closer examination, the pictures reveal an ambiguous world of transiency and fragility. The female nudes come to us as a seemingly friendly apparent reality. But that’s what we want to believe. We are enchanted by this first layer that covers up our deep fears for losing and fading away. Hannah wants to restore a long lost idyllic life, or if you want human body, through images. This attempt results in unspoiled fragile portraits where the decline of beauty already has begun.
The work of Duncan Hannah is represented in the permanent collection of The Metroplitian Museum of Art, New York, The Minneapolis Art Institute and the Frederick Weisman Museum. In 2011 he received the Guggenheim fellowship. His work is in private collections which include George Condo and Philip Taaffe. In 2013 he had a show at Castillo / Corrales Paris, curated by Adrian Dannatt, this exhibition has been discussed among others in Artforum magazine, Modern Painters magazine and Contemporary Art Daily. (CAD).