about the artist
Samantha Haničar studied Fine Arts & Design at Newcastle Art School. Her practice encompasses drawing and sculpture and whilst a newly emerging artist, the last twelve months have seen her exhibit at Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre and win acceptance as a finalist into four major art prizes: the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, Muswellbrook Art Prize, Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize and the Fisher’s Ghost Art Award.
Australian-Croatian in heritage, Haničar is influenced by Brutalist architecture, Spomeniks (WWII memorials built in the former Yugoslavia) and concrete socialist housing in central and Eastern Europe. Everyday – oft-unnoticed – elements within our built environment such as carparks, road infrastructure and construction sites are the building blocks for her sculptures, in both inspiration and more literally. For her Stratum, Monument and Architectonic series, discarded materials are collected from industrial worksites, and combined with used postage packaging such as bubblewrap, styrofoam and cardboard to form a structure. She then pours concrete into and over this form-work, before dismantling to reveal the structure once the concrete is set. The element of chance within this process, akin to the final firing of a ceramic work, is at odds with the engineered perfection of the inspiration, but highlights the material, and praises process.
A childhood seeing rock core samples in the back of her pop’s work truck – he was an exploration driller for mines, a less-than-glamorous job unlikely to inspire any but the most receptive eye – was the catalyst for her Core Samples. Haničar uses collected sand, oxides, and cast iron and steel filings in her concrete mixes, attuned through memory and artistic sensibility to the beauty and potentiality of these common materials. The solar-shaped disc is coloured with line-marking paint usually used for signage on roads and industrial work sites, setting the sun on the limitations of material, aesthetic and even class hierarchy.
Her genre-defying drawings take the archetypal combination of paper and graphite into truly new territory: they become self-referential sculptural objects, something akin to a poem about poetry. At first glance, the drawings look like metal sculptures. This illusionistic quality is excitingly at odds with their actuality. A folded sheet of paper is placed over a raw concrete surface and the pressure of a graphite stick repeatedly drawn over the surface embosses the texture of the concrete into the paper. Graphite’s delicate lustre is highlighted, but the result is physically heavy in appearance. As such, Haničar’s drawings simultaneously deny and affirm their materiality.