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HANNA PETTYJOHN (b.1983)
HANNA PETTYJOHN (b.1983)

WITHERLANDS

Details
HANNA PETTYJOHN (b.1983)
WITHERLANDS
oil on canvas
137 cm x 183 cm.(54 3/8 x 72 in.)
21st Century

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Lot Essay

Hanna Pettyjohn is a rising young artist, whose lucid portraits of nameless individuals are deeply empathetic yet compellingly stark. Like the great portrait painters of the twentieth century, Pettyjohn conveys an impression of the individual's soul rather than their physical characteristics; dwelling on the expression in their eyes and other visceral gestures. Painted from close-up perspectives, the subject's visage dominates the canvas. The dramatic scale of the woman's face in Witherland renders the same sense of intensity for a viewer as looking in a mirror or experiencing intimate contact with another person. From this proximity, Pettyjohn manifests a profound honesty: soul-searching, stripping bare. Pettyjohn's subtle aesthetic evokes the atmosphere of mid-twentieth century American art, such as Edward Hopper or David Hockney, through the nuances of her pictorial composition, color palette, balance of light and shade, and most importantly, the keen weight of human existence overpowering any situational sense of place. Like Hopper and Hockney's protagonists, Pettyjohn's figures experience a similar disconnect with their individuality, prompting a lingering suggestion of spiritual barrenness, psychological isolation and emotional vulnerability amidst a rapidly changing urban environment. Pettyjohn's gestural brushwork and vitreous paint building up the surface of the canvas express the physicality and emotional life of her subject

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