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Hannah Parr is an artist who takes the ordinary and makes it art, a whole new creation fashioned out of what others may see as a simple piece of wood. And that is precisely what defines an artist, her ability to see art where the rest just see something common, something that without an inspired vision is nothing more than a piece of junk, something useless.
In her labor as an Artist in Residence at Altos de Chavon, Hannah Parr was very much inspired by the daily life of Dominicans. From what some may see as simple everyday utensils, Hannah Parr created intriguing abstract artworks, and this is how an artwork can grasp your attention, leaving you unable to put into words why or what it is that has you so captivated. It is also how you can say with certainty: This is art!
So captivated ourselves by Hannah’s artworks, we got together with this up and coming young English artist, so here we talk to Hannah Parr on her inspiration, artworks and experience as an Artists in Residence (AIR) in Altos de Chavon.
@cdcliving: What inspires your art?
My work is established upon my passion for colour and interest in found material, particularly wood.
@cdcliving: Especially what inspired your latest exhibition at The Gallery?
The inspiration for the series of work I produced for the exhibition is based upon my stay here in the Dominican Republic.
@cdcliving: How would you define your art?
I bring new life to found wood, through fresh application of colour. I have a background in Graphic Design so this knowledge or say a trained designers eye is combined with traditional painterly techniques. I like aesthetically pleasing work and try to be subtle with its conceptual meaning allowing an opening for personal interpretation.
@cdcliving: How did you come to Casa de Campo? Why did you choose the Artists in Residence program?
My sister in law is a chavonera! She studied at the Altos Chavon School of Design some years ago and coincidentally fellow AIR, Julio Marcano, was her tutor. So she told me about it and put me in touch.
@cdcliving: How was your experience in the program?
My experience on the AIR program at Altos de Chavon has been great. My work and self have benefited hugely, its been a luxury to enjoy plentiful studio time, to produce and truly experiment in a seriously vibrant setting.
@cdcliving: What inspired you to name your works?
The titles of the works are based on the ideas behind the pieces. “Bedrock Vistas Chavon No.1″ is compiled of pieces of wood found collected at the construction site of Vistas Chavon No.1, Casa de Campo. Since my arrival in Casa de Campo in September I have watched the construction of this villa, I was really taken back by the chaotic beauty of the construction site. As a big fan of wood seeing it used as scaffolding, in such archaic fashion was really inspiring for me. I also like the idea of taking these pieces of wood as token mementos and creating something which captures a small piece of the properties history and recognises the lively labour that went into the construction. Which would perhaps otherwise be forgotten and buried in the completion of the villa.
@cdcliving: How do you decide what the final result of your work wil be?
It is a very intuitive process therefore reasonably difficult to articulate. It depends largely on the intention of a piece, what it is I am trying to communicate. For instance with “La República Dominicana” (pictured top) I decided I wanted to construct a map of the Island when I found the frame— the frame has a dividing line down the center which to me resembled the line that divides Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I then looked at the wood I had collected from around the country and decided to use these pieces and reassemble the island, so because of the organic nature of this idea, I wanted to leave much of the wood in its original found state and simply highlight key geographical areas. Therefore reaching the final resolution in this case was about finding a realistic yet harmonious composition.
@cdcliving: Your work is based largely on wood installations and representation of daily living in the Dominican Republic. Why?
It is the first time I have been to the Dominican Republic so much of my time on the residency has been dedicated to discovering the island and its people. As I explained I work with found material. It is my creative starting point and a great way to orient oneself in a new place, to walk or cycle around picking up discarded material. You can learn a lot about a place and its people through looking at their waste!
@cdcliving: What do you think about the experience in Dominican Republic? What can you say about this and Altos de Chavon? What impression has it left you?
As I said it iw my first encounter with the islands breath taking nature and dynamic urban landscapes which has been immensely inspirational. I’m certain I will continue to look back on my experience here as source of inspiration for many years to come. Altos de Chavon is the perfect hide out to process such a richly inspirational scenery, you are surrounded by astonishing nature and disconnected from the distractions of daily life.
The exhibition of the Artists in Residence, will be on display only until December 15th of this year. The Gallery is open Tuesday and Thursday from 9am to 6pm, and it is a tempting invitation to dive into these worlds created by artists!
Below there is a collection of photographs to enjoy some of the creations of Hannah Parr: