Artists Talk: Garrett Hansen
Sunday, July 30th, 5PM
VCP, 49 Flat Street, Brattleboro, VT 05301
Please join us for an artists talk with July solo-exhibitor Garrett Hansen on Sunday, July 30th at 5pm. The talk is FREE & open to the public – all are welcome to attend. Following the talk, we will hold a casual closing reception in the gallery until 7pm. Hansen will share additional works from his recent series HAIL and will also lead a discussion about gun culture in the US and the mixed relationship that many have with guns – how they can be both attractive and terrifying at the same time.
Garrett graduated from Grinnell College, where he studied economics and political science. He completed his MFA in photography at Indiana University and has taught at several universities in the United States and in Asia; he is now an Assistant Professor of Photography at the University of Kentucky. Garrett has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Indonesia, and Japan. Originally from Peterborough, NH, Hansen is now living and teaching in Lexington, Kentucky.
Roughly 40% of US households have a gun and there are enough guns – approximately 300 million – to arm nearly every man, woman, and child in the country.
At the core of The Void series is a desire to consider these facts and to create a set of images that speaks to their implications. Each of the images is created from individual bullet holes. While shooting is fundamentally a destructive act, by bringing these holes into the darkroom, enlarging them and then processing and printing the results, I am able to balance this destruction with creation. The viewer is presented with images that speak to the sublime – they are both attractive and terrifying at the same time. In many ways this reflects our own opinions of guns in America, a country where the debate between rights and controls continues to rage.
While The Void series deals with the power of the single bullet, the Silhouette series engages the broader culture of guns in America. Every week I go to a local gun range and collect the cardboard backings that are used behind their standard target. The targets depict an unarmed man’s silhouette, a highly common target throughout civilian and police gun ranges. Each shooter is presented with a fresh target, while the backings slowly erode from the thousands of rounds shot at the unarmed man. The groupings that one most often sees are in the chest and head areas. I collect the pieces of cardboard and bring them into the darkroom, where I make full sized contact prints of them. These prints are then scanned and form the basis for the final pieces. The final pieces are made of mirrored plexiglass and are one-to-one replicas of the original cardboard backings. As viewers approach the piece, they see their own reflections hollowed out by the countless bullets.
The third component to this ongoing project is comprised of bullets that have been collected from gun ranges. Each bullet, sculpted by impact with a ballistic steel wall, takes on a dramatic new form. The contorted shapes speak to the inherent violence in shooting and the transformation of each fired bullet from a sleek projectile into a twisted shard of lead. As with The Void series, this work deals with the complex connections between destruction and creation.