Hannah Wooll (b. 1977 King’s Lynn, Norfolk, UK) studied at Norwich School Of Art (1995-96), Manchester Metropolitan University (1997-2000) where she gained a 1st Class Degree in Fine Art, Painting; and The Royal Academy Schools (2000-03) where she received the May Cristea Award for Fine Art for her final show. Shows include: Solo show, Contemplating Life and Stuff, Comme Ca, Manchester (2007). Selected group exhibitions: Dystopia For All, Carter Presents, Wharf Road Project, London (2008); Durty Turkey, Gone Tomorrow Gallery, London (2007); The Future Can Wait, Atlantis Gallery, London (2007); Fastest With The Mostest, Carter and Gallagher, London 2007); Jerusalem, Dean Clough Gallery, Halifax (2006); New London Kicks, Wooster Projects, New York (2005); Hand In Hand We Walk Alone, Clapham Gallery, London (2005); Radical Art, Jerwood Space, London (2005); Le Petit Paysage, Liverpool Biennial Independents, Gostin Building, Liverpool (2005); Red Mansion Spero Prize, London Institute Gallery, London (2002). She currently lives and works in Hertfordshire.
About my artwork
This series of works pays homage to the depiction of women within art history, tethered with the apathy and frivolity of more contemporary media imagery. Large brimming eyes, flowing hair, smart mouths, bony fingers and faithful pets borrow from religious icons, plastic dolls, German old master blondes, society heiresses, and Gainsborough’s girls.
The paintings are essentially portraits, although not of real people, their distinctive faces being born from a literal or imaginative cut and paste of features, allowing the desired female form to be manipulated and become freakishly beautiful and awkwardly alluring. Enlarged eyes, wide faces and gangly limbs subvert their surface prettiness; their tousled locks become a heavy, tangled, and unruly painted burden. There is something desperate however about these poor creatures that are unaware of their physical distortions. These women gaze inwardly in self-absorption, or stare out wantonly at their audience. They are marooned in their painted worlds, alone, or in uncommunicative couples and groups.
These isolated women are imagined as hormonal, apathetic teenagers, brooding heroines, and melancholy painters, and are invested in the cliché of the lazy or tortured artist who spends the day contemplating and musing. These characters are perhaps becoming akin to self-portraits, mirroring the artist’s own disbelief, idleness, hopelessness, shyness, humour, aspiration, and pretence, a catalogue of characteristics that suggest human frailty.