About Mark J Hansen
Seasons of Change: 2016-2018
I designed this show to explore my interest in time, seasons, and annual cycles. I first became interested in how time is portrayed in art by looking at medieval calendars, almanacs, and books of hours. This show is an answer to questions I have about the cyclical nature of our lives that runs on a 24-hour clock and celebrates the same holidays over and over despite the changes that occur in each day, month, and season.
The Alphabet Animal cards loosely follow this theme and were developed and drawn when I was learning exactly what I enjoyed drawing. The idea was to constrain a body of work to create a problem for me to solve that would produce a group of cohesive drawings. I enjoy the alphabet approach to designing projects because it forces me to find fresh solutions to an old and restrictive project prompt. I ended up doing several other alphabet art projects, but these cards, many of which have been updated and redrawn, are my favorites.
The chicken portraits are my take on medieval calendars with the focus on a seasonal event, rather than specific date. They are portraits that illustrate the season rather than a specific day or holiday. My interest in chickens began years ago when my parents started a backyard flock and I was fascinated by the little feathery dinosaurs that lived behind the house. Furthermore, chickens are linked to the pastoral and seasonal imagery I was interested in exploring.
The festival characters are another exploration of the same theme. My characters are engaged in different festivals celebrating holidays large and small. Designed with inspiration taken from art history, monastic attire, and my imagination, they represent a little bit of everything that I’ve studied and seen. My long-suffering friends and family modelled many of the poses with towels, sheets, and, in one case, bear skins borrowed from UAA’s library. The antennae on the peaks and domes of the background buildings beam in and send out information. These antennae also appear in the chicken portraits, creating an anachronistic mix of time and technology while pulling together the two groups of pieces.
Growing up in Alaska sensitized me to living outside and participating in outdoor recreation. Activities from skiing to running, fishing, hiking, and wood gathering, helped me appreciate the seasonal cycles we experience here. Some of our seasons are short and others much longer, but even within them we see variation. Summer is not the same season for its full duration, and we Alaskans often pronounce the end of one season and the beginning of another not by a date change, but by something tangible, such as termination dust on the mountains.
I went to Maine for college and earned a degree in Geology and Oceanography from Bowdoin College. In addition to my major studies, I took art classes and studied mythology. I wrote, illustrated, and printed an adaptation of the Epic of Gilgamesh. It was always my intention to return to Alaska and I did. I am finishing illustrating several books in addition to drawing and painting. This show is a result of the last two years spent exploring and learning how and why I like to draw.
Bowdoin College, Brunswick ME
Major: Earth and Oceanographic Sciences:BA 2014
University of Alaska, Anchorage,AK
Studied Printmaking (Beginning and Independent Study), Metalsmithing, and Drawing: Spring 2010, Fall 2015
University of Tasmania, Hobart Studied Geology, Antarctic Science, Sculpture, Sequential Artforms: Fall 2012
Grants & Awards
2014 - Awarded the Koelin Grant for study beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.
2008-2009 Scholastic Art and Writing Silver Award and cash prize.
2018 - Seasons of Change-Solo Show -Snow City Cafe.
2017 - Piece in Hickory Cartoon and Animation show in the Hugh McPeck Gallery at UAA: • Piece in Snow City juried show at Snow City Café
2016 - Piece in UPSTART juried show at the Alaska Humanities Forum:
2015 - Self-portrait in No Big Heads juried show in the Hugh McPeck Gallery at UAA:
2014 - First Friday Art Show at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art • Two shows at Bowdoin on written and illustrated Gilgamesh book • Work selected for exhibition in Delta Sigma Art Show at Bowdoin College
2008 Exhibition at the International Gallery of Contemporary Art.
ART WORK EXPERIENCE
2016 Fabrications Technician, Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center.
Contract work with the Anchorage Museum that included fabrication, demolition, painting and other duties as assigned.
2014 Social Media Assistant, Bowdoin College Arctic Museum. Oversaw Arctic Museum Tumblr social media blog. Created content through photography, research, writing. Collections and Fabrications Intern,
2013 Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center. Aided in the construction of two life-size installation dioramas for the Dena’inaq’ Huch’ulyeshi exhibition- a whaling scene now installed in the Ted Stevens International Airport and a fish camp scene. Worked in Archives and Collections to plan the Footnotes exhibit, selecting photographs and materials for exhibition.
2011 Sculpture Assistant to John Bisbee, sculptor and art professor at Bowdon College. Helped in fabrication and creation of several sculptures in John Bisbee’s Brunswick studio.