Christine HanlonHalf Moon Bay, CA
The subject that continues to fascinate me is urban landscape with figurative elements. This evolved during my graduate studies in San Francisco when the homeless became the focus of my thesis project over several years. Political organizing and activism through the 80’s and early 90’s did not find its way into my work until urban landscape became the perfect backdrop for social and political comment and the focus of my MFA “Home Street Home” exhibit in 1997. The show raised almost $1500 for the Coalition on Homelessness through a 10% sales donation and was attended by the mayor and media.
I believe that the great artists of history understood the narrative power of painting enhanced by great composition. My study of the invisible geometry used by the Old Masters made the power of the work comprehensible. I had begun to use dynamic symmetry in my own work as a way to harmonize the compositions while drawing the viewer into contemplating a subject that is routinely avoided. Other subjects that have been explored include oil tankers, cargo ships, urban construction and gentrification.
The paintings are executed in oil on panel or canvas, custom made to exact ratios such as the Golden Section. They are carefully composed using geometric grids that act as an invisible armature for the narrative content, helping to determine the compositional flow and placement of figures and objects. I use alkyd painting mediums to speed up the oxidation of the oils so that repeated layers of color can be built up over days and weeks. The manipulation of surface textures and paint viscosity is very important to me and materials include traditional oils, water miscible oils, alkyds and oil bars.
As a representational painter I feel it’s my responsibility to comment on the world we inhabit. It is my hope that the paintings will seduce the viewer into self-reflection about the content as well as one’s relationship to it.
Christine Hanlon is a painter/teacher with an extensive resume that includes juried museum, regional and gallery shows in the Bay area, New York, Oregon and the Midwest. She conducts educational seminars on paint and color for colleges and universities throughout Northern California and received a BFA in Painting from Rhode Island School of Design in 1976 and an MFA in Painting from the Academy of Art University in 1997, where she teaches in the graduate school.
One of her homeless paintings is included in the museum exhibition entitled “Hobos to Street People: Artists’ Responses to Homelessness from the New Deal to the Present”, (curator Art Hazelwood) which will travel around California until early 2012. Her urban landscape work was featured in the Competition Spotlight for the September 2009 issue of Artist’s Magazine after being selected as a finalist the year before. A triptych entitled “Death of an Oil Tanker” received Best in Show at the Coos Art Museum’s 15th Annual Maritime Exhibition in Coos Bay, Oregon in 2008. A feature article entitled "Activism through Art, the Maritime Paintings of Christine Hanlon" is in the current issue of Sea History Magazine published in November 2010.