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Bahamian art: Presenting. Uniting. Educating.

Mixed Media Blog

Feature from the Exhibition: Portrait of My Father (Unfinished)

Portrait of My Father (Unfinished)
Mixed Media on Canvas
47.5in. x 32in.
2003
Collection of the Artist
Image provided by the Artist
 

Hanna orchestrates the course of action for each piece in his mind long before the canvas is even marked. This thought process plays a major role where he mentally sees the artwork as a finished piece and thus fights to materialize his vision into reality. The majority of Kendal Hanna's work comprises mixed media, with mediums varying from crayons to oils. His thoughtfulness towards the content and subject matter of Hanna’s work, the same consideration is attributed to the media he chooses.

Kendal Hanna’s father, Leonard “Jakes” Johnson was the drummer for Freddie Munnings’ and later on the drummer for George “God Bless” Moxey’s band. The portrait reference “My Father (unfinished)”, a painting that has been an ongoing process over the span of eight years is a photograph of the “God Bless” Band. Some psychologists will argue that the relationship between father and son is unsettled and is reflected in this portrait causing the piece to be uncompleted. Hanna, however, opposes this. His intent is to add in the drums, from the photo. One should also consider that creating art is an emotional experience that cannot be forced but felt, an action that derives from impulse and Hanna believes that there is no specific time that a piece has to be completed.

Image Courtesy of Kendal Hanna

A technique that is used constantly and delivers a great affinity in Hanna’s work is the yin and yang concept, along with the grid pattern laid down as the foundation of the piece. The use of the yin and the yang plays the balancing act of light and dark, composition and this application is evident. The strokes of the paintbrush and the rub of charcoal onto canvas are all taken into consideration. The visibility of the grid in this painting gives a glimpse into the artists’ creative process. It is placed above the portrait allowing him to assess the balance and proportional mechanism of the work a means to settle the sense of chaos. Though the grid is visible in this piece it is normally hidden in some layers in other artwork. Hanna’s successful use of these techniques keeps the viewer’s eyes wondering and dancing across the canvas not able to focus on one particular area, because the pieces works together as a whole.

Viewing this portrait of Hanna’s Father gives a glimpse into the Happy Birthday to Me Kendal Hanna Retrospective Exhibition and is a cohesive blend of what this exhibition is about, abstract expressionism and portraiture.

-AW





Works Cited
The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas. Happy Birthday To Me Kendal Hanna: A Retrospective. Nassau: The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, 2011. Print.
This book is available at the NAGB Art Library and available for purchase at the Mixed Media Gallery Store.

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