Dust away the pencil shavings from the lines scored across the page. See each angle, corner and joint. Lay the foundations and, little by little, with each brick, layer and tile, ascend into a self-sufficient fort, built from scratch by human hands. From paper to concrete, to familiarity, purpose and love – what goes into making a building? Different sizes, definitions – homes made and demolished, renewed, rebuilt, destroyed.
Architecture is but expressions of our own civilisation at a fixed point in time.
Inspired by the building blocks of our world, Hannelore Smith explores the work that goes into constructing our environments in her art.
“It’s about capturing actions and movements,” says Hannelore. “Visualising things we can’t see.”
With her father an architect and her husband in construction, Hannelore says she has always been inspired by the men in her life and the industries in which they work.
“Growing up, I was always taken around building sites while my dad measured things. I’ve spent a lot of time around piles of wood.
“The structural theme has been going for a while,” she says. “My grandmother is German and has lots of stories from the war and when she was running from the Russians. It always conjures up images of those aerial maps where they would send in the planes afterwards. You can see where the bombs left scars on the landscape afterwards and that inspired me too.”
With a background in textiles, Hannelore still loves to use different materials in her work as well as tools normally associated with the trade.
“I use things like darning needles to pinprick fabric and I use lace in printmaking for texture. So I don’t really use textiles but I make very textural pieces. Texture is very important to me, it’s how I make
Impressions, rough lines and wooden scars all pierce the surface of Hannelore’s work giving her art a very physical presence in a digital world.
“I’ve recently got into Gelli plate printing to pick up textures. I use engine oil instead of printmaking oil so it has that industrial feel. Like elbow grease
“Digital has its place but I prefer to get my hands dirty. I like exploring something I’m interested in and if someone doesn’t like it, I don’t get upset. It’s part of me, it’s about how things look and feel for me.
“Most recently I have been exploring buildings. I love being in buildings and being in a certain space – one that’s quiet with lots of interesting angles. I’m always inspired when I’m in a situation where I can see composition – it’s the same reason why I like looking at scaffolding.
“I tend to shy away from colour, my artwork is quite black and white. I like the contrasts, it emphasises the structural side of things.”
For Takeaway Art, Hannelore has made a series of castings of six different architectural compositions, each box containing one casting.
“They are made with fluorine latex and each one has a design on it which has been taken from wooden rails my husband uses while he’s working. They’re accidental marks but they’re a trace of somebody’s hard work and I found the impressions they made when pressed into clay really interesting,” she says.
“I enjoy the challenge of creating a new piece. That’s why I like working with materials and taking them out of their context, I like using things that are sometimes difficult to work with.”