Hannah Newman, MFA ‘16 and Leslie Vigeant, Faculty, exhibit at Carnation Contemporary

Updated: Oct 7, 2018

Fellow MFA in Craft alum, Hannah Newman ‘16 and OCAC/AC+D Faculty Leslie Vigeant, are now part of a new artist run space in North Portland, Carnation Contemporary. Today is the last day to view their work in conjunction with the other gallery owners, in the inaugural show, First Date. However, this will not be the final time to see their work in this space, as Leslie Vigeant receives a solo exhibition in November at Carnation Contemporary, and Hannah Newman will orchestrate her own show come February. Carnation Contemporary was founded in 2018 by a collective of Portland-based artists who champion critical and contemporary artwork. They support emerging and mid-career artists from Portland and the surrounding region. https://carnationcontemporary.com/

This is not Hannah’s only project, as her work is now on display at The Neon Heater Art Gallery in Findlay, Ohio and at The Real Tinsel in Milwaukee, WI, a collaborative show, Truth and Flood (The Danube). Hannah’s work involves elements such as water and geology, with her use of Apple technology acting as a flood of language, a boundary where subject and object become confusing. The devices present a complicated relationship, where viewers are caught bonding with the foreign and inorganic material. Her work is in some way humorous, turning the absurdity of everyday life into a wondrous act of questioning. Hannah asks her projects, “Can I change how you’re engaging with that screen and make it a more ambiguous experience? A new and unfamiliar experience?” With Truth and Flood, she uses text messages to create an archive of the exhibition. The show’s theme is about taking the temperature of the art world, in a multiplicity of ways. Her work will be on view through the end of October.

“I am looking at the object of smartphones and tablets. For the past year, my research has been around object oriented ontology. I have been thinking about objects in terms of physicality but also grammar. I question how sentences are divided into subjects and objects. I am provoked by the language around us, especially news stories where often apologies are passive. In many apologetic phrases, women are not the subject but rather placed as an object. We divide the world into subjects and objects. I am interested in rewriting stories to change the grammar so there’s no subjects or objects but everything is active. That becomes my practice. What would it be to have an exhibition where everything is the object, rather than subjects looking at objects?”

For her piece in Carnation Contemporary, an iphone is projected under a heavy rock, with digital images surrounding both the rock and the iphone. The iphone imagery is like a gem that is hiding underneath a heavy rock, but what is most important for Hannah is that the iphone and the rock are engaged in a relationship. The iphone is for the rock, the rock is holding up the iphone. Subject and object are intertwined through the phrase, “a hidden gem.”

Hannah began her MFA at Oregon College of Art and Craft as a primarily ceramics artist. After Hannah graduated the program, she was awarded a residency at Rainmaker Artist Residency in Portland, Oregon. She is currently the program manager at the MFA Applied Craft + Design graduate program, where she also has a studio at the Bison Building. Her work still resonates with the geologic substance that clay beholds, including the idea of the rock as a nod to a practice rooted in earthly material.