Press / Fabrik. Contemporary Art and Design
Fabrik. Contemporary Art and Design
(magazine), issue 31, May 2016
Reviews, p. 85-86
By Shana Nys Dambrot
Moira Hahn is almost too adept at what she does for her own good. Her uncanny ability to recreate the formal, stylistic and technical characteristics of her source materials and inspirations- Japanese Ukiyo-e prints, Persian miniatures, Tibetan devotional Thanka paintings - risks obscuring the Pop-infused, cinematic, contemporary Western visual and narrative wit that is the true treasure of her practice.
Hahn's masterfully executed watercolor paintings, and crisp, radiant printmaking, are dedicated to the portrayal of anthropomorphic animals enacting convincingly authentic historically Eastern tableaux.
Under Water World 10 1/2" x 9", fine art wood print on 1/2" sustainable birch wood, bright white finish
Giant chickens-of-prey on the attack, primates checking their cell phones, tigers in the trappings of warlords and more cats in kimonos than your Facebook feed, occupy tatami-matted, paper-lanterned domestic spaces in which families feast and frolic, offspring play board games and samurai warriors defend against attack by outsized parrots.
Hahn's exotic, saturated palette, mannerist line work and knack for adding tiny details- lost dice, a fish tail in a kitten's mouth, a cartoon cat smoking a cigarette, the traditional misshapen bound feet of geisha (except they're cat paws)-all combine to pepper her compositions with a cascade of breathtaking surprises.
After seeing one image, viewers may be moved to start again at the beginning, and re-examine every inch of every painting, in search of more. They are never disappointed.
But beyond the perennial appeal of this game of hidden magic, and Hahn's undeniable craftsmanship, there is also meaning in her imaginative narrative scenarios. Besides the panoply of global art historical traditions she cites, and her ability to use animals as allegorical stand-ins for examining the peculiarities of human behaviors, Hahn's specific interest in the interaction between Eastern and Western societal, aesthetic and popular cultural trends finds ample expression in her flawless mergers.
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