So many people in our society we take for granted really hold the fabric of the country together. People in the Army. They sit around for years and all of a sudden they have to go fight… Even a girl or a lady who works in an office downtown and has to buck all of that traffic, has to feed her kids in the morning and go to work and sit in that traffic… I think that it takes a great deal of stamina to really exist in our society.
– Duane Hanson
Van de Weghe Fine Art is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Duane Hanson (1925-1996). Hanson began making hyper-realistic figurative sculptures in the 1960s. Among the first artists to work in this style, he is frequently associated with Pop Art and other times with Photorealism. Cast from life from his family, friends and neighbors, dressed in second-hand clothing, and accessorized with found objects, Hanson’s sculptures were a radical return to figuration in the wake of recent abstraction. Focusing on harsh realities of American life and often-exploring socio-politically charged issues, Hanson further pushed the boundaries of contemporary art and continues to be among the most influential American sculptors.
Beginning in the late 1960s with such sculptures as Gangland Victim, Bowery Derelicts, and Trash (dealing with abortion) Hanson tackled timely social subjects in a brutally realist manner. Unusually frank in their depiction of violence, these works elevated social and political issues to an iconic level. Shortly thereafter, in 1970, Hanson evolved both in terms of his style and his subject matter to create more subtle investigations of character, that of the everyday people he encountered.
In these works from the 1980s – what has come to be recognized as Hanson’s mature work – the artist shows us ordinary people in everyday situations. Traveller, a bronze completed in 1987, presents a tourist who has taken a respite from his journey with an improvised nap atop his baggage. In Bus Stop Lady, a polyvinyl work from 1983, a middle-aged woman waits for a ride with her shopping bags. We see both of these subjects at a moment of pause enroute to a destination unknown and are given license to examine them at this moment of stasis. They each appear to be in their own world - the former sleeps while the latter seems lost in thought. Hanson’s subjects are notable for their mundanity. He makes us look closely at what we would not normally notice and think more deeply not just about the work, but about eachother.
Van de Weghe Fine Art represents the Estate of Duane Hanson. The gallery is open from Monday – Friday from 10:00am – 6:00 pm, and by appointment. For further information, please contact Jenn Viola at email@example.com.