Hannah Rowan (b.1990) lives and works in London (UK), is an artist who makes sculptural works that meditate on the relationship between the slow geological time of natural processes and the fast paced, technology-driven frenetic activity of humans. She utilises both synthetic and organic materials in her ephemeral, multifaceted constructions.
She received her Masters in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London and BA (hons) Fine Art from Central Saint Martins, London. She has participated in Artist led research expeditions in the Atacama Desert and The High Arctic. She has also attended residencies at The Scottish Sculpture Workshop, The Banff Centre, Canada, The Vermont Studio Centre, VT and The Wassaic Project, NY.
Hannah Rowan has been awarded Arts Council England Grants for the Arts funding for her solo show Prima Materia at Assembly Point (2019) and her research in the Atacama Desert 2017. She is recipient of the Gilbert Bayes Scholarship in Sculpture (2018). Her work and writing has been featured in the Guardian and DATEAGEL ART, Boundary - Online, Squeeze in Here. Her work has been featured in print publication Perpetual Inventory Vol III and she is contributing writer to The Earth Issue III.
Constructing precarious ecologies on the edge of expansion or the brink of collapse.
Artist Hannah Rowan’s work involves an ephemeral chain of events unfolding through material states: transformation, growth, reaction, adaptation, evolution and degradation. Both her work and her studio rarely look the same on any day. The artist works on assemblages by often adding lots of elements and then returning the next day by extracting or refining details, building up and taking away or vice versa. In many cases, she works within the limits of her own body – how high she can reach, how much she can lift or stretch. “I try not to be overly precious about dismantling something, but I do try to take process photos to remind me of how something was earlier.” She reveals. With the noteworthy interconnections between her elemental and ritualistic materials, these being both inanimate and living organisms, Rowan’s work reflects upon an essence of time in which the relationship between different materials act upon or support each other. As she explains, “I am interested in working with a wide array of materials and forming intricate connections and assemblages with these elements through a fluid process.” “Often water plays a role in relation to the material states of these other components”, the artist continues. Rowan finds deep relationships between elements often considered inanimate but in fact just operate on a different timescales. Coupled with her stage-like approach, enhanced by lighting devices, magnifying glasses and kinetic utensils, it’s an entangled scenario that enacts the potential for change to occur, creating circumstances in which growth and entropy unravel. This is a reference towards forensic way of scanning an event that is unfolding in real time, a subtle brutality, or an observed violence, especially for an artist whose work explores a larger sense of anxiety in regards to global and cosmological events taking place in real time, such as climate change, the liquidity of data or the accelerations of technology.Taking a closer look around her work, one begins to find their own connections towards ecology and geology, but also towards medicine, science-fiction, forensic science, alchemy and even astrology. Ahead of her solo show at Assembly Point in May, in which Rowan has spent a lot of time inhabiting the space to understand how the light moves and the different way that the gallery as a whole can be navigated, I spoke to the artist about the personal in relation to the global and how she mixes different visual vocabularies to disrupt the experience of her work.
you can read about Hannah Rowan’s work in these places: