Communing With Poppies

Communing With Poppies | Hannah Banciella 

April 7th, 2023

The solo exhibition Communing with Poppies by Hannah Banciella is an immersive, site-specific installation, with larger than life charcoal drawings illustrating a fantastical dream state. Banciella’s beautifully rendered, eleven foot tall self-portraits describe two distinct personalities representing different facets of her inner life and play with ideas of power and powerlessness. Figures dressed in black gowns describe a harmful, unpredictable dream world, and figures in white lace convey a wish for control and the desire for peace. Banciella’s use of a larger than life scale and childlike, paper doll cut-out technique, bring the viewer back to an age of innocence before being encumbered by worldly clamor. The organic cut-out shapes of plant life contribute to the nonsensical and uncontrollable nature of dreams. The work is installed to be read as a sequential narrative and effectively leads the viewer’s eye wall to wall as if from page to page, resulting in an engaging and thought-provoking exhibition.

About Hannah Banciella:

Hannah Banciella is a multimedia artist, working within drawing, bookmaking, natural dyes, and textiles. Hannah received her BFA in drawing at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL along with a ceramics certificate. She is interested in the mysterious way that art can feel otherworldly and spiritually larger than a person. Through her work she explores the similar ethereal feeling of nature and its healing connection to self-portraiture and meditative patterning. Her self-reflective process also involves the writing and pairing of poetry to expand the narrative of her work. 

My charcoal work places self-portraits within plant covered environments. The plant life captures the duality of these expansive natural environments; both alluring and unsettling. The self-portraits represent the confrontation of past selves: dealing with, giving in, and letting go of harmful thoughts and actions.  The willow and vine charcoal give the drawings a soft nostalgic feel. The drawings are paired with poems that expand on the narrative and emotion present in each piece. I take inspiration from inventive poets and artists such as Sylvia Plath, Louise Glück, and Katherine Bradford in the way they are able to create an immersive world within their poems or paintings through written imagery, playfulness, and mark-making.”  -Hannah Banciella