Commonly referred to as a sculptor and/or welder, it really doesn’t quite capture the extraordinary artist that is Hannah Kidd (pictured above, left, with her assistant Sue). In my opinion, something along the lines of visionary; a master with steel and iron; or a sculpting extraordinaire fit better.
Hannah’s career has seen her create an array of political and environmental pieces along with her commonly known New Zealand-inspired works and animal sculptures. Her process is rather simple: the framework is first built out of welded wires, and once the shape of the piece is determined, the skin of the piece is applied by tack welding flattened corrugated iron onto the frame. Her materials include corrugated iron, steel rod, bolt cutters and tin snips.
Although the means and messages around being a sculptor or welder are strong and purposeful, Hannah is a lot more. She is an imaginative, hardworking and subversive artist. Working alongside her assistant Sue, the women treat the three-dimensional frames with decorative zeal, approaching the pieces with intent and purpose and treating them as real-life subjects. Her art continues to explore the human condition, making figurative pieces to depict greater meaning.
In recent years she has created incredibly immersive and brooding scenes as installation art. A kind of neo-noir-ish atmosphere, mixed with the psychological ambiguity of the figurative subjects to create narratives. She thoroughly enjoys creating environments that provoke feelings and emotions. Her studio, unbeknown to her, creates a verisimilitude, joyful experience too.
Her favourite exhibition to date was an installation piece which converted a slaughterhouse into a hot house in Sculpture on the Peninsula 2017 – the different elements coming together with the inclusions of physical pieces, her welded art playing on the visual element. Simple audio of magpies and dripping water plays on the hearing sense; temperature plays on touch; and overpowering scents play on the sense of smell. In these experiences we all end up as voyeurs, challenging our own judgments on the figures, characters, the setting and the subjects.
Her next installation exhibition is no different. Titled something along the lines of Central Inheritance, it will be held at the Central Gallery in Christchurch from 14 May 2020. Curious about life, our environments, our relationships and the human condition, this exhibition will play on all of the idiosyncrasies that we inherit in both the physical or genetic form.
For more examples of Hannah’s work, visit her Facebook page.
Words & IMAGES Hana Read