A seemingly free arrangement of lines have been let loose to meander at will, forming twisting pathways of chaotic interconnection. Loops fold in on themselves and pale lines sit beside their dark twins. Between these lines, within the negative spaces, the echoing shadows of continual layers merge into oblivion.
There is a sense of deep recurrence at work within the surface and texture of Hannah Quinlivan's images. Seen together in one exhibition they create an intriguing sense of transformational deja vu. Grounding her practice within the expanded parameters of what the artist refers to as spatial drawing – moving between sculptural weaving and graphic mark making – affords a flexible and adaptive means of working. Here line, trace and shadow become implicated in an act of contingent liberation. No longer requiring the fixed surety of a plinth or canvas support, they become at once both intangible and solid. Twisted wire structures inform the production of shadow drawings which in turn form the basis for further sculptures. Each element has the capacity to be endlessly translated. Endowed with a dual quality of formal austerity and material tactility, this transitive methodology becomes the artist's means to investigate the processes of remembering.
Negotiating the fragmentary, elusive and mutable nature of memory through a system of serial repetition, her works oscillate between material, form and gesture to suggest a kind of ongoing, fraught memory loop. Somewhat akin to the quality of a maze or knitted cloth, disjuncture, connection and entanglement serve to amplify crucial ideas of memory's limitlessness, spontaneity and tangential qualities. The continuous, threadlike trajectory of each line becomes interwoven in much the same way as that of a feeling of memory. Each lived experience, once internalized, travels imperceptibly through an individual's consciousness, mediating and influencing future events. A similar durational influence has been allowed to unfold within these sinuous forms.
The sequential strategy of Quinlivan's making allows an infinite range of possibilities to spring from seemingly slight adjustments. Through the materials themselves, depending on their transparency, weight or texture, ideas of permanence and temporality emerge, offering not only suggestions of that which is in existence, but also creating opportunities for some form of reassessment, destabilisation or erasure. The plurality of such a position confirms the precariousness and subjectivity of the phenomena of recollection and forgetting.
Within the avalanching layers of each spatial drawing, within the bending, curving, folding, and incising of surfaces, a continual state of reassessment is at work - locating the warps and distortions intrinsic to memory. Interested in representing the dynamic aspects of cognition itself rather than any literal representations of place or moment, Quinlivan is activating a system by which to trace a pathway from past to present.
Essay by Phe Luxford, BA Fine Art, MAArtCur