Detail of Little House #3 by Cheryl Hanna
Instricate, carefully prepared excursions into a magical universe
About the Artist

"Provocative works of exceptional beauty... mystery and energy.”

CHERYL HANNA was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and grew up in a variety of places, including Mexico and fifteen of the fifty states. These experiences find their echoes in her work, where the ruins and the beaches of Mexico, the mysterious emptiness of Baja California and the seductive allure of the Southwest’s turquoise light serve as inspirations for her elegiac vision.

“ is an artist whose connection with her unconscious, her inner spirit, suggests the purity of a child’s creativity.”

While studying art at Brooklyn’s Pratt institute in the 1970s, Hanna’s teachers included African-American master printer Eldzier Cortor and painter Audrey Flack. Her influences have since ranged widely. Among her favorite painters are Paul Klee and Paul Jenkins and among her favorite collagists are Romare Bearden. Other less evident influences include the language of dreams and fairy tales, the pictography of foreign tongues, urban graffiti and calligraphy, the accidental renderings of paints and stains.

“Intricate, carefully prepared excursions into a magical universe.”

One reviewer called Hanna’s work "absolutely transcendent." New York’s City Sun pointed to the “affinity for liberation” and the “grace” which informs her collages. "Art is a light," Hanna says, "that the artist is privileged to hold."

Hanna is indexed in several source book editions of Art in America. Publications featuring her work include an artist's book project, Voices, which is sponsored by the Michigan chapter of the National Conference of Artists and Gumbo Ya Ya: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Women Artists (Midmarch Arts Press), both with introductions by Dr. Leslie King–Hammond. Catalogues featuring her work include Cheryl Hanna, published by the National Urban League (1985).

"These works of art have the resonance of an overheard conversation... familiar, even seductive..."

Hanna's work has been exhibited at The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., The Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey, The Newark Museum, the Peale Museum in Baltimore, Maryland, at June Kelly Gallery and Cinque Gallery in New York City, at the Museum of African American History and Sherry Washington Gallery in Detroit, Michigan, at Alijira in Newark, New Jersey, at The Wharton Center of Michigan State University, at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Kalamazoo, Michigan and at the Bronx River Center in New York City, among many other places.

Recent solo exhibitions include Pages from a Book of Dreams, at the HarperCollins Exhibition Space in New York City and silences + journeys + dreams at the NCA Gallery in Detroit, Michigan. Recent group shows include The Garment Magical and The Pocket Project at Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, Thunder at the Cathedral at Rush Arts in New York City, and in 2005, Danny Simmons' borough-wide exhibition, Project Diversity.

“There is charm within the complexity.”

Prominent collectors of Hanna’s work include singer Roberta Flack and dealer and collector Eric Robertson. Public collections include Keyspan Energy in Brooklyn, NY. She is a past recipient of the Wheeler Foundation Grant and Artists Space Exhibition Grant.

Hanna has curated several exhibitions, most recently The Garment Magical at Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, New York. The artist is a past member of the National Conference of Artists and Entitled: Black Women Artists and a past member of Coast to Coast: National Women Artists of Color