Aftermath 2094: Hannah Fletcher-Tomlinson

What is your work about?

I am deeply inspired by Liz Jensen’s novella Our Silver City, 2094 – in particular, the sub-chapters titled ‘Phases’, depicting the different stages of human emotion when faced with an apocalyptic event.

My work is a culmination of responses gathered about the colours people attribute to emotions, then interpreted into the ‘Phases’ creating a journey through what we may feel during a crisis. Viewers are invited to walk amongst painted fabrics, experiencing the colours and reflecting on their present and future emotions as a collective and an individual.

What are you trying to communicate?

The work aims to portray the emotional journey of experiencing an apocalyptic event. I hope the abstract expressionistic nature of the practice resonates with the viewer, allowing an exploration of emotions in relation to our current climate and situations.

Are you inspired by Our Silver City, 2094?

In Jensen’s novella and the ‘Phases’ motif I was intrigued by the factitious depiction of human experience in different stages of such cataclysmic events and wanted to portray this on an emotional level. The notion of using fabric is inspired by Céline Condorelli’s installation as part of Our Silver City, 2094 and her use of the material; how light interplays with the printed fabric to create an immersive environment.

Describe the process of developing your work from ideas, through planning, to experiments and production.

Usually deriving from automatic processes, the development of my work starts with partially realised ideas, abstract and gestural in nature. I allow subconscious emotions and subliminal habits to shape my work. For this project, my process was expanded to experiment with portraying others’ emotions as well as my own.

After gathering initial inspiration from the exhibition, I mapped how I could incorporate other people’s notions of colour and emotion into the artwork. I was interested in creating a more universal view of emotions, with the idea to make something that would resonate more with the viewer. I view the responses to a public survey about emotion and colour as the backbone to creating the ‘phases’ part of my work: it was astounding to receive so many responses, and the results were fascinating.

Fabric experimentation as part of pre-production was crucial in finding a fabric that allowed paint and mediums to be applied without losing both the texture of the fabric whilst retaining the details the paint. It was also important to me to find a fabric that mimicked the effects of Celine’s printed fabric: I wanted the colours to seep through in order to create a view from both sides that would allow the viewer to interact with this as sculpture. I took a methodical and steady approach once I selected the right fabric. Base layers of colour were applied and soaked into the fabric before detail was added. It was important for me to have a mindset that mimicked the emotions I was trying to portray on the fabrics, an experience that was both difficult and performative.

What does it mean to you to make this work?

Following a practice exploring emotions and mental health, it was a huge opportunity to be able to explore with a wider audience's views of colour and emotions. The responses captivated my interest as to how I can expand this further, and how collective emotions are explore in turbulent times. This work has also pushed me to create an interactive and immersive work of art that is in direct response to others. It has allowed me to communicate and facilitate reflection on socio-economic and political issues relevant to today.

What do you hope visitors will experience or take away?

Above all, I hope the work allows viewers to have emotional responses and to reflect on what it means to them. Within the contexts of Our Silver City, 2094 and current crises in the world, I hope that the work will prompt self-reflection and ideas of self-help and how to help others and the wider world - through beginning to understand each other’s emotions.

Instagram: @hannahs_helianthus

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