between-ness is a solo exhibition of ten assemblages by emerging artist Hannah Petkau. In her twenty-six pieces, Petkau utilizes materials such as driftwood, woven wire, clay, fibres, seeds and rope to create works that are both corporeal and ephemeral. She explains, “I reserve an intentional ambiguity to the origin and intent of my objects. The collection is comprised of objects both found, transformed and constructed that realize the collaboration between human and natural actions.” This collaboration may initially seem abstruse in intent, with contradictory components, but her approach is intentional.
Petkau has unique abilities. Clever, thoughtful and extremely creative, she also displays masterful craftsmanship. She can observe an object and envision its transformation, and she possesses the ability to intricately and expertly alter material to bring her vision to fruition. The outcome generates an intimate opportunity for the viewer to visually engage with delicately woven fibers positioned beside a saw-cut shard of wood, or a knot of rope hanging from an antique railway tie placed beside a piece of a wasp nest. She works with found natural and manufactured materials, skillfully reconstructing them to change their purpose. Petkau finds materials everywhere. “I acquire items on walks, at a thrift store or in other day-to-day occurrences. They are artifacts of interactions. Shards of wood and fabric, fragments of wasp nest, rocks and pieces of metal and plastic are a few of the items that end up in my studio.”
Originally from British Columbia, Petkau spent her childhood walking the shoreline collecting objects. This experience had an immense impact on her artistic practice and has influenced her aesthetic, processes and concepts. Petkau finds a balance between transformation and familiarity, creating a visually simplistic but complex fabricated body of work—one in which the natural world and the manufactured world intersect.