A Week of Canadian Painting: Hanna Hur

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Because we are a Canadian-run publication and we admire those who continue to work with the arguably dated medium of paint, in the arguably dismal landscape of the Canadian art-world, we have decided to do a week-long feature on some of our favorite current Canadian painters, in no particular order. Stay tuned this week to see who we believe to be among the greatest established and emerging painters the Great White North has to offer!

In “The Artist as Exemplary Sufferer,” Susan Sontag writes, “One remarks the coolness of Pavese’s fiction, though the subject-matter is often violent. […] The typical effort of a Pavese hero is lucidity; the typical problem is that of lapsed communication.” I could very well replace Pavese’s fiction and heroes in these remarks for Hanna Hur’s paintings. That’s to say, that while we are often presented with something very cool, distant yet clear in Hur’s work, we are also overcome with a feeling that a suffering exists, one that cannot be expressed directly to us as viewers. Despite Hur’s deep involvement with her surface-as-place, it seems that the real action has happened somewhere else, perhaps even in the past and the final painting is all that’s left for us to bear witness to. Or, maybe it’s as if her painted scenes are stages for cruel acts that cannot be contained by language- aesthetic or otherwise. But I could also be totally wrong. There may be no suffering at all. And it’s exactly then that Hur’s work transfixes—when it points to what could be very wrong but also potentially o.k. – Loreta Lamargese

Where did you grow up? What was the landscape like?
In various suburbs around Toronto. The landscape was flat, spread out, and homogenous. The sky always felt way bigger in the suburbs than it did in the city.

Do you think being Canadian has had any impact on your work?
I’m sure in unconscious ways…

What is your favorite medium to work with?
Colour pencil seems to be what I always go back to.

What themes do you work with, if any?
Emotional themes, healing themes, lived experience themes, spiritual themes…

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Are you inspired by any Canadian painters?
Yes! A few friends that inspire me: Jenny G, Bea Parsons, Tiziana La Melia, Katie Lyle, Sojourner Truth Parsons, Rebecca Fin Simonetti…

Is there any one painter who has influenced your work more than others?
hmm..I think of Agnes Martin a lot. My sister Laurie Kang gave me a few books of Etel Adnan’s poetry last year for my birthday so I’ve been thinking about her too.

Do you consider your work to be political?

What do you think is missing from the Canadian art scene?
I’ve typed and erased a bunch of things over the last 15 minutes, and…I think I don’t know.