Luke Hannam | The Compass & The Rosary

Expe­ri­ence Luke Han­nam’s debut exhi­bi­tion at Ani­ma Mun­di Gallery.

‘The Compass & The Rosary’ is Luke Hannam’s (b. 1966) debut solo exhibition at Anima Mundi and represents a significant period of development and refinement in the artist’s practice. As the title eludes, the exhibition offers an exploration as to how the artist (and perhaps we), find a way through the often blinding complexity of the human experience - when cut adrift, are we to be guided by logic and reason or emotion and faith? It is no coincidence that the making of this work has coincided with repeated lockdowns and the worry and ensuing tragedy of a global pandemic, no doubt heightening personal anxiety which consciously or subconsciously inform thematic concerns and an intangible urgency. However these events have also provided space and time for Hannam to broaden his creative intent.

All the works have been made during an extended residency at Bridgepoint studio in Rye, England, located near to Luke’s home. The scale of this work space offered an irresistible invitation to begin working on enormous canvases, by far and away the largest of his career thus far - this technical development encouraged a practical unlocking of potential, as Luke explains “Working this large helped me to unravel a new way of painting”. The resultant colossal paintings could, in different hands, be seen as grandiose, with their romantic and even classical form and gesture, but the deliberate rawness of material, creased and imperfect, provides a constant and inescapable reminder of human fallibility. The works for all their presence, remain notably and remarkably humble.

Hannam describes his work as the result of an “ordered chaos” where poetic paintings are made “in the eye of the storm”. Creativity spins wildly, through bursts of impulse around a silent meditative deep well of meaning. Ideas emerge out of an energetic dedication to drawing and a relentless desire to explore images and motifs, many of which come to him in his dreams which are experienced and remembered with absolute lucidity. His work is instantly recognisable through a strong punch of colour and definite use of line which weaves its way sensuously across the surface, denoting both the delicacy and strength of the form and spirit of the subject. Hannam’s paintings expressively offer a singular view on how what he sees, how he thinks and pivotally how he feels about the human condition and what lies beyond our materiality. As such his work continues the Romantic tradition, embracing reality and mysticism with the wonder of experience to visionary effect - these are not paintings about far off realms of fantasy, they are rooted in the here and now, a reflection of the true nature of existence, solitary yet connected, violent and beautiful in blossoming flux, where potential renews through continual deep rooted contemplation, endeavour and struggle.
Drawing Painting