June 19- July 26
In Stand In Burr investigates how mind and matter influence one another by assembling physical matter as 'stand-in's for fleeting thoughts and subtle experiences.
Burr explores these ideas through a reversal process. Take a sensation out of one's experience, and substitute a chunk of wood or bit of string for it. Put that wood on a shelf outside of oneself, see it, it's separate. The result is a playful, dynamic, bright, and bold visual layering, stacking, repetitive action, and an opportunity for shifts to take place.
She asks, “Can physical matter express direct, fleeting and personal experience? What is changed or freed up, if so?”
What results is a series of pile ups, a residue left behind of this dynamic process at work. A small mountain, standing in for a cluster of moments of noticing, expressed in different kinds of material. Burr explores how these pile ups, contained in each of us, can constitute personality and identity, and how they form the world around us, from rocks to artworks to other kinds of tenuous and shifting structures.
Via an entirely new body of work you will see four qualities in the materials interwoven into compositions within drawings, sculpture and installation,
~ flopping or surrendering, an open state
~ piling up, gathering, building
~ armoring, covering up, wrapping, contracting
~ shining, being, emanating.
Sculptural materials, whether piled on the floor or hanging from the ceiling are bright, playful, strangely juxtaposed, and rediscovered from daily contexts.
THE BOSTON GLOBE- CATE MCQUAID: "Burr tallies experiences poignantly"
July 8, 2014
Hannah Burr makes abstract sculptures that represent real experiences. In her show at 555 Gallery, she assigns particular objects — blocks of wood, ribbons — to specific increments of an experience. The accumulation of objects then embodies a memory. The results are strangely risible and poignant.
She chooses experiences mundane and extraordinary. For “Interval Between Appointments” she counted cars passing (wooden wedges), bites taken (petals of lavender fabric), intervals of quiet (ocher strips), and texts received (pebbly gray-black pieces of hard foam). It’s all piled in a jumble on a corner shelf. She tucks the little ocher strips between the edges and planes of the wood like cushions. The lavender bursts read like tiny oases. The whole oddly captures waiting.
The small, intimate “My Father’s Last Day” counts labored breaths, tender moments, physical contact with family, and lucid intervals. The breaths — panels of pale wood — lean into one another, some short, some long. The lucid intervals, held by slips of pink paper, are infrequent. In this piece, the economy of Burr’s system, goofily effective in other works (she has a frothy rendering of the movie “Clueless”), takes on gravity, distilling her experience of her father’s final moments into a sculptural haiku, delicate and powerful.
Burr has several small abstract drawings, paintings, and sculptures on view, as well. In her attention to material and form, her abstract work has always conveyed something awkward and nervy. This new approach to depicting experience (who knows, maybe she has been doing it all along; doesn’t good art always represent the ineffable?) gives viewers a clear way in. She is explicit in her details, even as she abstracts them. We look at her stand-ins for real life, and we relate.