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'translating the mark'

Working across ceramics and painting, artist Hannah Gibson explores how a common language between these disciplines can offer a glimpse into something undiscovered yet familiar. Kirsty Reid visits Hannah in her studio in the Southside of Glasgow to discuss her interdisciplinary practice and influences.

Artist: Hannah Gibson

Editor: Kirsty Reid

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K: You work in several mediums, and I’m particularly drawn to your use of ceramics. How does this tie in to your paintings? Do you see them as extensions of the paintings, or are they separate sculptural pieces?


H: I began using clay as a means to visualise imagined and hybrid objects. I could then study them through drawing, play with them and assemble in compositions to translate into a painting. So, initially they were an essential step in my process to inform my desired outcome which was a painting. I did then start to play with the objects interacting with the painting around the frame and it seemed as though they were assisting one another, so yeah, initially an extension of the painting. 


More recently I’ve been using clay in an attempt to pull my drawings out of paper into a 3 dimensional realm so they can ‘exist’. I have these flat, abstracted, ceramic shapes with spiky edges that closely resemble ‘marks’, hovering between drawing, painting and sculpture. Their relationship with the wall is an ongoing question.

K: You recently went to Japan. Did anything there inspire you, and in general, what informs your work? 

H: I have this photographic book that I’ve been obsessed with for a few years called “How To Wrap Five Eggs”. Through staged black and white photography it records lots of traditional Japanese packaging, showing various ways of wrapping, often food but otherwise you’re not really sure what is inside which forces you to use your imagination. I enjoy the natural and manmade materials used, techniques are intricately done but appear so simple. The way simplicity is embraced and the material sensibilities have definitely had an impact. I think this book is a good representation for why I’m so drawn to Japan; the respect that’s given to what we normally see as mundane. In everyday spaces this is clear, the way that the trees are tied up around the gardens and parks, the use of rope as a practical tool for support but also for its aesthetic. Tying, wrapping, hiding, concealing. These are all words I’m always thinking about and these things are visualised everywhere there.

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