hanna kay

Born in Tel-Aviv, Israel
Art education: Tel-Aviv, Israel and Vienna Austria
BA Semiotics and Philosophy, University of Sydney, Australia
College of the Arts, University of Sydney, Doctor of Philosophy (candidate)

Since 1970 has been practicing as an artist in;Tel-Aviv Israel, Vienna Austria, a decade in New York and a decade in Sydney. In 2000 moved to live in the Upper-Hunter valley, NSW.

Before arriving in Australia in 1989 exhibited in Museums and galleries in Israel, across Europe and the U.S.A.  In Australia - has been exhibiting regularly in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. In addition, has had survey exhibitions in selected Regional Galleries and Museums, and participated in numerous group exhibitions in both commercial and public art-galleries and museums.


My artistic career has been marked by journeys of significance - a trajectory that took me from Israel, where I was born, to Europe where I studied art in Vienna, to New York where I practised my art for a decade, to Sydney, and finally to establishing my studio in the midst of 5 rural acres in the Hunter Valley in Australia.

My practice has been suspended between poles of transience and permanence, and the artworks, which draw on the natural world, are maps of memory and experience, exploring the landscape and its relationship with culture. The artworks spring out of my conviction that cultural forms and practices exist in relation to nature. They are an aesthetic exploration of the tension between order and disorder, between what-is and what-was. As such they offer the viewer a dialogue between states of being and can be seen as instances of cycles connected to natural processes of growth, decay, and regeneration.

In the last decade, much of my work has been focused on examining our relationship with nature and examining the essence of its changeability. My daily walks are framed by fields of grasses stretching on one side to the trees edging the river bank, to the other side, reaching the slopes of the ranges. In some seasons, the dew on the tall weeping stalks of grass will glitter in the rising sun, while the setting sun will catch the motionless tips turning the fields bronze. At other times the grasses are short, either frostbitten or drought thirsty. Whether towering or low, the grasses, the trees, the river, and the myriad marks left behind by creatures and the elements, have provided an endless source of materials for my artworks.

Whether inspiring or threatening the working of nature’s forces is inscribed on rocks, trees, deserts, and mountains. These aspects of the natural environment are portrayed in the artworks, and evoke nature’s own cycles as marked by the seasons and Aeolian processes. The presence of natural forces that may at any moment act, for better or worse, upon any place is evidenced in each of the artworks. The depicted natural phenomena intend to evoke an unforgiving Nature, which is oblivious to us and our social and cultural constructions. The art I make is personal, remembered encounters in the landscape and is an attempt to highlight the tension between human transiency and the resilience of the natural environment.
— Hanna Kay