More About Becky Hanney
I am an artist making paintings that explore the sensual abstract worlds and creatures I can create following an automatic, improvisational, fractal flow of marks. I am mimicking patterns in nature that deeply fascinate me, that exist between and across all things and are deeply intuitive and attractive. The works, to me, represent a reenchanted cosmology and panpsychist universe, where a pleasurable consciousness fills every strand of light.
What’s the purpose or goal of your work?
Becky: The purpose of my artwork is to act at the finger pointing to the moon, as zen philosophy points to the zen experience, a place beyond and before thought or words. This internal experience has many names. It is the feeling of the sublime, the numinous, Zen, Samadhi, bliss, euphoria, fascination, the fantastical, ecstasy, nirvana, emptiness, fullness, intuition, peace, tranquility, reverence, contentedness, satisfaction, fulfilment, awe, the epic, the magical, joy, feeling good, being in the vortex, and so on. It is a state of being that we look to embody as much as possible, in which we feel expansive; with our energy centres are open and flowing, and we are not contracted; holding onto thoughts and worries. We can resonate with this optimum vibration and therefore improve our lives, those of others and increase harmony in the world.
I want to represent and communicate this internal feeling through the visual medium of painting, in which I represent organic fractal patterns; abstracted so that you do not attach to narrative, symbols or language, and become more aware of the seamless continuum of experience, the pleasurable patterns behind and across all things.
How has your art/writing shifted over your time as a Creative?
Becky: Throughout my youth, I enjoyed and developed a talent for realism drawing and painting, and this is what dominated my academic career. As I moved into the university space and studied fine art, this skill became devalued, and so in searching to become relevant I pushed myself to question and explore why I have this urge to create art and what more I can do with it rather than just copying from life and recreating what is already there. I began deconstructing painting, making visceral, sculptural, messy pieces, and from there began to understand the primal pleasure of colour and form, flow and detail; the patterns that are so attractive to look at. Now I combine realism and abstraction to create surrealist spaces, portals into three dimensional abstract worlds which convey a feeling of flowing vital energy.
Who is your favorite Artist/Writer and why?
Becky: One of my favourite artists is a lady called Georgiana Houghton. She created abstract artworks in the 1800s which preceded and was totally isolated from the modernist avant-garde and the traditional narrative of the development of abstract art in the early 1900s. She was also a medium, and her paintings were inspired by her trance states. Also, unlike the modernist narrative, where abstraction came through a progressive deconstruction of form from realism, hers came fully formed and out of nowhere.
The pieces are highly psychedelic, each filled with colourful flow lines and completely different from method to anything she had experienced in her art training. Her work was deeply out of place for her time and not understood or well received. I first saw her work in the Courtauld Gallery in London, as she is now being recognised and reintegrated into art history, and it awakened in me the power of naïve art and the relationship between art and spiritualism, which is not a part of traditional art education.
What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned about yourself through your creative projects?
Becky: The most unexpected thing I have learned is that my art practice has ultimately been guiding me to the spiritual experience. There has been a trail of breadcrumbs that, at first, I followed unconsciously, led by pleasure and a vague intuition. Later, I could look back and see a pattern, refine, and develop a clarity. I saw a constant through the changing work. Through this research and internal reflection, I came to understand the art experience and the spiritual experience to be the same thing. It is a way of looking at the world, a way of being in your body, and the art object can be a stimulus to help access this state of consciousness.
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