Hannah Pierce is a ceramic and mixed-media artist at Nottingham Center for the Arts in San Marcos, CA. She received her MFA in Ceramics from Edinboro University of PA and her BA in Studio Art at Humboldt State University of CA. Hannah has exhibited her work in numerous galleries and museums, including La Luz de Jesus in LA, The Clay Studio PHL, BoxHeart Gallery, Blue Line Arts Gallery, Erie Art Museum, the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA), Canton Museum of Art, the Chula Museum (Thailand), and the Bernardaud Foundation (France); And art fairs/conferences such as Aqua Arts Miami, Superfine! Arts Fair DC, and NCECA (2016-22). She was a Resident Artist at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts as a Kiln God Award Recipient (2017) and a Resident Artist and Instructor at Baltimore Clayworks as the Abilities Fellowship Artist (2018-2019). Hannah was featured in the May issue of Ceramics Monthly as one of the 2021 Emerging Artists. She was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Fine Art in Ceramics and 3-D Design at San Diego Miramar College.
My work consists of surreal, narrative-driven sculptures that primarily portray bizarre characters and an abundance of visual metaphors. Within my playful, figurative configurations, I utilize deceptive, illustrative qualities and exaggerative forms to distort the viewer’s perspective and enhance the theatrical nature of these narrative works. The distortions create an absurd, disorienting space that offers the viewer a bodily, other-worldly experience. Within all my sculptures, the figures are visually separate from their surroundings in their illustrative, 2-dimensional format. This separation personifies an underlying tension and a sense of estrangement that everyone in our contemporary society can relate to.
I predominantly build my pieces out of clay, but I also incorporate neon, wood, paper, fiber, wire, found objects, various types of paint, and resin. My work first stemmed from a deep curiosity in the dimensional layers of the Indonesian shadow puppets, print installations by Swoon, and early 1900’s paper art animations by Lotte Reiniger. In all this work, artists transform traditionally 2-d mediums into layered cutouts that enter the sculptural and performance realm. Ceramicists like china painter, Kurt Weiser, further inspired me to use clay and sculpture as a canvas to express detailed imagery, dizzying perspectives, and vulnerable narratives.
My work explores coping mechanisms, escapism, and their relation to addiction and oral fixations. We all have our little quick fixes; some are just less destructive than others. I like to exaggerate our constant “hunger” for temporary satisfaction regardless of the destructive consequences. Being heavily influenced by Pop Surrealism, I sarcastically pair dismal concepts with pleasurable pops of color, playful perspectives, and figurative distortion. I draw attention to childlike qualities when pertaining to concepts of excess, lack of self-control, and escapism. Within these works, I can bring a sense of humor and absurdity to some of the darker, more challenging aspects of being human in unstable, perpetually changing environments.