2-Star

To Enter this World…

CHERYL HANNA AT HARPER COLLINS GALLERY

To enter this world, you must pass into a space of strangely familiar scenes. These dreams are without reference to people or named things; they are without specificity. Even so, the objects you’re likely to encounter seem recognizable. These works of art have the resonance of an overheard conversation, where the words and syntax are familiar, even seductive, but where the subject remains stubbornly obscure.

In Cheryl Hanna’s objects and collages, the artist’s own titles and explanations elude the concrete. Yet the subject is always a powerful one; a scroll with an alphabet of shapes suggests an individualized hieroglyph; a game board in which the playing pieces are natural and found objects indicates a consciousness that knows play as a kind of evolutionary strategy This work is patently abstract, yet it refuses to play by the rules built around the tropes of contemporary art-world abstraction. These small-scale works use common materials (paper, board, wood, found objects), assembled with a whimsical, playful attitude. I suppose that’s why Hanna’s three-dimensional objects and beautiful paper and mixed media collages are challenging even to those whose pride is reliant on a presumed familiarity with contemporary art.

—Geoffrey .Jacques

COVER, SEPTEMBER, 1995, VOLUME 9, NUMBER 6, Page 57