London Grip
online exhibition

Focusing The Gaze
the portraits of
Adam Hahn

Richard

Douglas

Portraits of Macular Degeneration

Adam Hahn’s most recent exhibition once against concerned itself with the gaze. This was an exhibition of paintings of people as if seen through their different levels of macular degeneration, a condition which causes deterioration of the central focus of vision.

Twice a recipient of the BP Portrait Award hosted by the National Portrait Gallery, London, Hahn had a year in which to research MD.  With the assistance of The London Project to Cure Blindness, he spent time with patients suffering from the condition, and gathered data at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the Institute of Ophthalmology.  He used his research to direct these paintings.

Shirley

 

All oil on canvas,

45 x 57 cm, 2007-2008.

Christine

Retrospective

Georgia, 1-6.  6 June 2008 Oil on canvas. Various dimensions.

Adam Hahn

At the core of the long tradition of western portraiture is the novelty of eschewing the narrative of the tableau for the sake of a complete encounter in the single gaze. The work of Adam Hahn, still in his twenties, makes reference to this heritage partly through his technical attention to detail and partly through his bold switches of scale – ironically, given this onscreen context – evident only in gallery exhibition.  There is his gesture on the one hand towards antique miniaturism as in Angel of the North, and on the other towards contemporary advertising in the metre high canvases of inquisitive children, tousle-haired youths, shirt-sleeved businessmen, or contemporary knights  of the realm.

Hahn’s almost-bare palette quotes from the more sober schools of early photography while nodding to contemporary movements antagonistic to literalism and the figurative.  The apparently effortlessly constructed surface simulacra and straight-to- camera positioning of each subject in the frame acknowledge a debt to the cool severity of his minimalist predecessors.

What marks his work in particular is the uncanny intensity below his surfaces, a sense of something inappropriately, aggressively intelligent and mysterious in his subjects’ glance askance, or their return of the gaze to the viewer. After his historical referencing, his searching technique, his reticent palette and his adventurous play with scale, it is the exploration of the thought behind the gaze which identifies a painting as one of Hahn’s.

P.M.

Commissions

2007 Anthony Salz
2007 John Rose
2007 Lord Dennis Stevenson
2007 Simon Robertson
2007 Sir Crispin Davis
2007 Sir William Castell
2007 Tom Glocer
2006 Sir James Crosby
2005 Divia Lalvani
2004 Alexander Stevenson

Awards

2004 Chaville Fund for Young Artists, France
2002 Richard Ford Award, The Royal Academy, London & The Prado, Madrid
2002 Artist in Residence, St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Glasgow
2002 Apthorp Fund for Young Artists, London
2000 Winner, Emerging Artist Award, Glasgow

Collections

Frisiras Museum for Contemporary Painting, Athens, Greece
Glasgow Museum and Art Galleries
Apthorp Foundation, London
Chaville Foundation, France

Exhibitions

2008  Portraits of Macular Degeneration, Menier Gallery, Southwark, London
2008  Portraits of Macular Degeneration, Mascalls Gallery, Paddock Wood, Kent
2005 Intimate Relations, Woburn Art Gallery, London
2005 Face Value, Chelsea Art Gallery, Palo Alto, San Francisco, USA
2004 Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London
2003 Los Amos, The Arts Centre, Hertfordshire
2003 Headstrong, Bedford Row, London
2003 Anthropography, Frissiras Museum for Contemporary Painting, Athens, Greece
2002 Our Choice, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow
2002 BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London
2001 New Generations, Compass Gallery, Glasgow
2001 Affordable Art Fair, Battersea, London
2000 BP Portrait Award, National Portrait Gallery, London

Education

1998-01 Glasgow School of Art, BA Hons Fine Art
2000 Academy of Arts, Architecture & Design, Prague

Residencies

2001-2002 Artist in Residence at St Thomas Aquinas Secondary School, Glasgow
2002 Prado, Madrid

Albert. Oil on Canvas. 2007. 100 x 120 cm.
Angel of the North - Tristan. 2005. Oil on canvas. 20 x 25 cm.
Billy. Oil on canvas.  2003. 45 x 52 cm.
Delia. Oil on canvas. 2005. 80 x 100 cm.
Francesca. Oil on canvas. 2005. 30 x 40 cm.
Albert. Oil on Canvas. 2007. 100 x 120 cm.
Angel of the North - Tristan. 2005. Oil on canvas. 20 x 25 cm.
Billy. Oil on canvas.  2003. 45 x 52 cm.
Delia. Oil on canvas. 2005. 80 x 100 cm.
Francesca. Oil on canvas. 2005. 30 x 40 cm.