Q&A with Evanston Review

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Q&A

Heather Hancock, health care worker turned glass artist

Heather Hancock

Genevieve Bookwalter Pioneer Press

Evanston artist Heather Hancock has lived in the north suburb since 1993. She primarily works with glass and her creations are featured in a show through May 26 at Evanston Art Center.

Q: What first brought you to Evanston?

A: We moved here for my husband, Cam, to attend Northwestern. I was working as a speech language pathologist in Chicago-area hospitals. We found an amazing community of friends and are still here 25 years later.

Q: How did you get involved with glasswork?

A: I came to my art practice via a career in health care. I worked for more than a decade in physical rehabilitation. I was passionate about helping others “live well” but there was a limit to what we could do in the health care setting. I came to see how important our physical surroundings are to our well-being, that beauty matters. I saw glass while traveling in Europe. I started to experiment with this gorgeous durable medium and gradually came to understand how powerful glass is in creating an engaging visual experience.

Q: How long have you been using glass as a medium?

A: I first started experimenting with glass in the mid-90s and then left health care to focus on art full-time in 2004.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working with glass?

A: The best thing about working with glass is the way it catches light. Even a tiny glimmer of light brings glass to life. There’s this contradiction of glass being both fragile and impossibly strong. The interplay of glass and light is so ephemeral but the pieces themselves are enduring.

Q: What frustrates you most about working with glass?

A: There are plenty of shapes that can’t be hand cut in glass. So I’m always translating what I can envision into what can be cut in glass. And then it’s very challenging to photograph glass. Photographs freeze light but my work is about playing with light. You really have to see glass in person to understand it.

Q: Does living in Evanston affect your work at all? 

A: Definitely. Evanston is the perfect balance of nature and city for me. Alongside the precision lines and repetition in our cityscape, I notice the constant change and transformations of our gorgeous lake and urban forest. I take a lot of pictures around Evanston. Beyond defining my own aesthetics, Evanston is a great place to be a working artist. This is a thriving creative and entrepreneurial community. I have an ever growing network of artists and mentors, collectors and creative entrepreneurs.

Q: Where did you draw the inspiration for your current show at Evanston Art Center?

A: My current work, “Reflect”, explores urban beauty. Glass is everywhere in our city. It catches light, reflects the sky and animates our streetscapes. “Reflect” is inspired by this overlooked urban beauty. I think that living well in urban settings requires new ways of seeing beauty and finding connections with the natural world.

Q: What do you enjoy around Evanston when you're not working?

A: Pretty much anything that gets us outside. Running at the lakefront. Lagging far behind our 13-year-old son Milo on bike trails. Our 17-year-old daughter Clio gets us out skating whenever winter weather cooperates and has recently introduced me to the wonders of a hammock.

gbookwalter@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @GenevieveBook

Feature on Lisa D Show

I enjoyed talking with Lisa D about my current show and work in architectural abstractions. 

Lisa D Show

Catching Light: the Art of Architecture at Evanston Art Center May 2018

Catching Light: the Art of Architecture at Evanston Art Center May 2018

Here's a short excerpt from our 20 minute conversation.

Lisa D: Tell us what we’re looking at your show at the Evanston Art Center

Heather: Catching Light is what I’m interested in. I work with glass because it catches light, because it shifts and shimmers and it’s dynamic in a way that’s pretty unique. At some point I realized there are these interesting lines and forms in the built world. As we move through the cityscape glass is shimmering and reflecting the natural world. I realized there’s a lot of overlooked beauty here that I wanted to explore. This show pulls together a lot of new work. I was able to do much bigger pieces for this show…

Lisa D: …because of big walls in front of big windows

Heather: …yes, and my work loves light. This is the perfect setting for my work.

Listen to the conversation.

Sneak peek!

New work is all ready for the Evanston Art Center show which runs April 28th through May 26th.  Large vertical pieces offer a big bold visual experience...almost like being there.

Reflect 3.0 | 30" x 48" | glass

Reflect 3.4a+b Hancock each 30" x 48" glass c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.4a+b Hancock each 30" x 48" glass c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.2 Chase 30" x 48" glass c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.2 Chase 30" x 48" glass c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.3 Mies 30" x 48" glass c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.3 Mies 30" x 48" glass c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 1.37a,b,c Catching Light each 24"x24" glass c Heather Hancock 2018 

Reflect 1.37a,b,c Catching Light each 24"x24" glass c Heather Hancock 2018 

Reflect 1.0 | 24" x 24" | glass

Reflect 1.39a,b+c each 24"x24" glass c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 1.39a,b+c each 24"x24" glass c Heather Hancock 2018

 

 

Catching Light: The Art of Architecture

Show at Evanston Art Center opens Sunday April 29th at 1-4 and runs through Saturday 5/26. 

Reflect 3.2 | Chase [urban mountain]  mixed media with glass | 30"x48" c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.2 | Chase [urban mountain]  mixed media with glass | 30"x48" c Heather Hancock 2018

Glass needs to be seen in person. I hope you'll stop by the Evanston Art Center for the opening on April 29th at 1-4pm or happy to meet you there anytime during the month of May. 

Cityview | triptych in mixed media with glass

One goal for new work is to use multiple pieces to create a more expansive city view with varying levels of abstraction. The layering of buildings in city views fascinates me. We decode distance and depth and height from the rhythms of distorted geometries. I find these rhythms deeply engaging. In interaction with light, these elements shift and shimmer, offering a fleeting moment of urban beauty.

Reflect 1.37a cityview WIP | cutting glass Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 1.37a cityview WIP | cutting glass Heather Hancock 2018

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Reflect 1.37 cityview WIP | cutting glass Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 1.37 cityview WIP | cutting glass Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 1.37 cityview WIP | cutting glass Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 1.37a WIP grouting c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 1.37a WIP grouting c Heather Hancock 2018

Glass really needs to be seen in person. I hope you can stop by the Evanston Art Center during the month of May to see all new work in the Reflect series. 

 

Catching Light: the Art of Architecture

Opening Sunday 4/29 at 1-4pm

 

Urban mountains | "Catching Light" show at Evanston Art Center

One of the ways I understand my Reflect series is as finding proxies for nature in the urban world. Architectural segments and surfaces interact with light and together with our motion through the city create rhythms and repetitions that I often experience as a mountain peak and canyon or leaf-filled forests or shimmering water.

Reflect 3.3 Mies | urban mountain WIP thin setting c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.3 Mies | urban mountain WIP thin setting c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.3 Mies | urban mountains WIP grouting c Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.3 Mies | urban mountains WIP grouting c Heather Hancock 2018

Hope you can come see work in person at the Evanston Art Center. Catching Light: the Art of Architecture opens Sunday April 29th and runs through May 26th. I'm looking forward to hanging work in this light-filled contemporary gallery space.

Catching Light: The Art of Architecture

Upcoming show at Evanston Art Center

I'm busy finishing up new work for a show at the Evanston Art Center opening April 29th and running through May 26th. 

My current mixed media work with glass explores the experience of the built world. I came to my art practice via a career in healthcare. My approach to my work is rooted in my understanding of embodied cognition. Borrowing from the material vocabulary of contemporary architecture, Reflect brings the ubiquitous yet overlooked medium of glass into a conceptual dialogue about material, methods of making and embodied experience. Light reflecting on permanent architectural surfaces creates ephemeral moments of visual interest and discovery. Movement through the cityscape introduces geometric distortions and rhythms that engage our biologically rooted inclinations to decode information embedded in the geometries around us. In so doing, these architectural abstractions transform vast factory-made structures into familiar moments. Living well in urban settings requires new ways of seeing beauty and staying connected to the natural world.

Reflect 3.4 WIP cutting Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.4 WIP cutting Heather Hancock 2018

New pieces for the show include a new larger 30" x 48" size and vertical proportion which offers a bold and more elaborated cityscape. Metal edging and a simple matte black frame gives a clean modern presentation of the work. 

Reflect 3.4 WIP thin-setting Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.4 WIP thin-setting Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.4 WIP grouting Heather Hancock 2018

Reflect 3.4 WIP grouting Heather Hancock 2018

Mark your calendar for April 29th 1-4 and come see all new work at the Evanston Art Center. Or happy to meet you there anytime during the month of May.