“I’m really passionate about exploring the different aspects of the Mother concept of the Nature archetype. The all-devouring mother, nurturing loving mother, the rituals, the dance, the wild excess of being of the Garden herself.”
Beautiful Bizarre Magazine has always had a connection to Hannah Yata’s work. Being passionate about women and understanding the symbolism of the feminine and the celebration of nature, is close to all of our hearts here. Hannah’s moving works shine a light on so many poignant issues but in a fantastical, vibrant and enchanting way. There is a passion and an energy that surges its way into those folds and layers of paint and colour, an intensity hidden in those tiny details, every inch of her works hold a special mystery, nothing is misplaced on the canvas.
If you truly want to lose yourself in an image, Hannah’s paintings are the right place to let your mind wander into a deeper part of the universe. Swirl around in her world…get a taste of the sublime.
I am sure everyone knows your work by now, but for those that may be seeing it for the first time or reading their first interview with you, can you share with us your journey so far and how you would describe your paintings?
I would describe my journey as a search to understand the feminine and its symbolism but also in a psychological narrative to understand her role in the unconscious and its parallels to the natural world. For me, painting the female form began as an outrage for nature but also for woman herself. Both objectified by society, I sought to communicate a world of disturbing mirrors through the fish-head masks, dissected bodies, and the plight of flora and fauna in my work. These figures slowly grew to encompass more heads with other narratives, swinging between a celebration for life, a search for the sublime, and a delirium that I feel like our world has fallen in to.
Your work is some of the most vibrant we see in galleries today, I would love to know how you set about choosing the colour palette for each piece.
It really depends on the mood, sometimes my most vibrant and colorful work is meant to disturb and throw one off balance. In pieces like “Sacred Contagion” and “Carnassial” the yellow is at once inviting and exciting, but at the same relaying a sense of tension and “weirdness.” In works like “Eve” and “In the Valley of the Moon,” I was trying to relay more of a meditative mood or an appreciation for nature and the divine. In these paintings, the colors tend to be more muted and more harmonious.
We spoke in an interview last year and one of your favourite passages was “It has become appallingly obvious our technology has exceeded our humanity.” – Einstein. How do you feel about the current state of the world and the direction social media and technology is taking us?
More and more I find myself pushing away from social media and the internet. It’s starting to look like it’s become a watering hole to push anxiety and manipulation of the masses. I try to use it strictly as a tool to show my work and not spend too much time on it. However, I do find myself afraid of how people speak to each other online or how much friends or family get sucked into it. I definitely feel like its changing our brains and relationships, and most of the time not in a positive way.
I know you works are filled with depth and meaning. What are you passionate about right now and what can we look forward to exploring in your upcoming pieces?
Right now, I’m really passionate about exploring the different aspects of the Mother concept of the Nature archetype. The all-devouring mother, nurturing loving mother, the rituals, the dance, the wild excess of being of the Garden herself. The whole dance of life, looking at the natural world, is this unpredictable play: sublime, disturbing, and utterly captivating. I’m working hard to push this energy into my work, so hopefully, in the next year or two; you will see this exploration take form.
How do your surroundings and nature influence the pieces you create? I know you live right in the heart of it all! It must be an incredible place to spend your life.
Certainly! Where we live now is teaming with life and beauty. I understand the captivation of the Hudson River School painters; they practically lived in the jungle here when the summer reaches its zenith. There’s life everywhere you look, from the myriads of mushrooms, to the glowing moss and lichens that grow on the rocks and trees, herds of wild turkeys, deer, and porcupines- it’s such a magical land. We also have 4 rabbits and a hedgehog. Between all the wildlife and the little creatures that live with us, they all find their way into my work.
Do you think the relationship between galleries and artists in changing? What are your current feelings on the “art community” at the moment?
I think the art community is in a bit of a transition. There’s a lot more artists that are trying to reach galleries and a lot of artists that are trying to get away from galleries and sell through themselves. It feels like there is a bit of tension between galleries attempting to maintain control over their artists and artists trying not to get lost in the crowds of artists that galleries promote. It can be overwhelming if you give it too much thought, but at the end of the day, I just try to focus on painting and not worry too much about the art community. The work should always come first, and the rest will figure itself out.
What do you do to unwind and relax nowadays or does painting give you all the head-space you need?
I love to read, write, and photograph wildlife in my spare time. Mushroom foraging is also one of my favorite things to do to relax.
Is there anything you have yet to explore that you (if time allowed) you would love to jump into and examine and create?
I would love to work more with sculpting and playing with raw materials like clay, branches, and rocks. If time allowed, I would certainly create my own crazy sculpture garden.
Is there anything you can share with us that is coming up this year or next?
My husband (Jean-Pierre Arboleda) and I are working on a two person show next year at Booth Gallery in New York City. I think we are both excited about how our work is coming together and will definitely be sharing things as they progress!