Carla Hananiah’s new series of paintings explores humanity’s primordial affinity to the natural world, personally reflecting on the artist’s own yearning to be submerged in the sublime. Depicting vast stretches of New Zealand and Australian wilderness at dawn and dusk, the works form existential ruminations on human fragility and finiteness by paradoxically invoking the eternal majesty of nature.
In the works, the artist looks at the symbolic synergy that exists between the topology of the mind and the vast terrain of the natural environment. When trying to map the psychological landscape of the mind, the ancient shapes of looming mountains become fertile tropes for the endlessness of thought and cognitive space. This exhibition marks Hananiah’s attempt to make sense of the wilderness of our minds and, concurrently, of the natural world. Mapping this world around us is, in the artist’s own words, ‘a journal of the internal.’
With resonant Romantic sentiment, Hananiah has recently shifted her focus to aerial views of mountain-scapes as an emblematic gesture of aligning the sublime with the divine and transcendent. Serene rivers slither through rolling undulations of earth like life-bearing veins circulating through a colossal and ever-growing body. The artist compliments her masterly use of oils with new mediums such as watercolour, ink, charcoal and conté, creating an alchemy of forms and kinesis of colour that seem to melt and mingle before our very eyes. This liminal space of flux pulls into question our conventional understanding of portraying the landscape – with its perspectival and spatial illusions – as we notice the permeability of paint, the joy of the drip, the movement of the mark and the transience of colour.