Hannah Nowlan · Myths, Moons and Mountains

by Lucy Feagins, Editor
Thursday 11th May 2017

Emerging Melbourne artist and VCA graduate Hannah Nowlan is on our radar right now – WOAH, such beautiful work.

Working out of her home studio in Black Rock, where she lives with her parents, Hannah’s recent works are inspired by coastal landscapes and mythical stories.

Hannah’s first solo exhibition, ‘Myths, Moons and Mountains’, opens tonight at Modern Times in Fitzroy. You can also meet Hannah at her artist talk, this Saturday at 9.00am.


Hannah Nowlan is not just a painter, but a truly versatile creative. Printmaking was her main area of study during her fine arts degree, but the 22-year-old artist has always found herself working on other creative side projects, in craft-based media such as ceramics, leatherwork, dressmaking and furniture making.

In late 2016, Hannah took part in a formative residency at the University of Lisbon Faculty of Fine Art in Portugal. ‘The residency was a key moment for my career. Being only one of two Australians there, I felt really proud of our culture and our land’ the artist explains. Travelling overseas has had a major impact on Hannah’s art practice. ‘The residency played a large role in boosting my confidence as an artist, in a way it validated my practice, and made me realise that I do have something unique to share,’ she tells. ‘It allowed me to feel more comfortable to experiment with new materials and to push my practice into new spheres.’

Hannah’s upcoming show, ‘Myths, Moons and Mountains’ is inspired by two of the coastal towns she travelled through whilst in Portugal last year: Nazare and Sintra. ‘Both towns had a profound influence on this body of work, there are so many mythical stories and deep enchanting histories that I was really drawn to’ Hannah explains. ‘The locals of this region often call the area ‘Lunae Mons’ – the ‘Moon Mountains’. Both towns have a very alluring and often mystical presence of heavy fog, which floods the mountainous areas and allows one’s imagination to drift.’

The imagery throughout this new series of paintings are partly imagined scenes, and partly true depictions of place. The subject matter varies from literal seascapes and landscapes, to overheard stories and legends. Throughout, a distinctive colour palette of sand tones, dark terracotta browns and strong blues are used in overlapping, semi-translucent planes, lending a unique depth of colour to these works.

Each painting is carefully framed by Hannah with her father in Tasmanian Blackwood, using a double biscuit join, which adds another element of craftsmanship to the works.

Myths, Moons and Mountains by Hannah Nowlan
Opening tonight May 11th at 6.00pm, and showing until May 25th
Artist talk Saturday 13th, 9.00am
Modern Times
311 Smith Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Artist Hannah Nowlan’s latest exhibition opens tomorrow at Modern Times. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

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