After graduating from Limerick School of Art and Design and Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork, Hanrahan set about exploring a practice which seeks to think outside the box. There is no limit, no set rules or structure in his artistic practice. He likes to adopt several styles. Photography has often been the medium most likely to give substance to his ideas, but he does not hesitate in using painting, collage, engraving or screen printing. He can thus simultaneously realise figurative shots and abstract paintings.
His abstract works are records of stories he invented, conversations he heard, people he felt connected to. His figurative works, on the other hand, generally have a metaphorical scope, inviting us to go beyond representation. Through pixelated portraits, he expresses the impotence of the photographer to capture the personality and essence of an individual, the image being only an illusion, a simulacrum.
He is also currently reflecting on the memory and the psychological power of flowers. This project stems from a long artistic process. In 2014, during his exhibition at the Center for Modern and Contemporary Art in Vitebsk, Belarus, his first questions about the hidden meaning of plants were born. An initial attempt to create a body of work reflecting the similarities between traditional Belarussian and European cultures led him to take an interest in folk art, medieval hunting paintings, 17th century Russian woodcuts and the art of the Italian Renaissance. The rediscovery of Primevera by Botticelli (1492) brings him a new understanding of the theme. Several serigraphs on plywood were born, representing a wild and symbolic nature. The Metamorphosis: Fantasy Visions exhibition at Starewitch, Svankmayer and the Quay brothers at the Center for Contemporary Culture in Barcelona (CCCB), which presents four animated filmmakers to the grotesque and phantasmagorical universe, reinforces his desire to create work of a metaphysical scope.
Through ongoing research of botanical photographers using the technique of autochrome, such as Karl Blossfeldt, Charles Jones or Leendert Blok, he thus began, a few months ago, a new experimental project gathering one hundred shots of flowers. This photographic sequence is not a scientific study of plants but seeks to invoke memories and psychological experiences in the viewer. Bearers of symbolism, flowers represent for some nature, the seasons or the cycle of life. For others, they have a romantic meaning.
Some of works in this series are currently on display at Dublin’s Rua Red café, while others are on sale online at the So Fine Art Edition gallery and Library Project Temple Bar representing the artist.
Rachel Chenu – 2019
(Article in French on Pausart.fr)