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Hannah Morris at Steve Turner


The subjects in Hannah Morris’ paintings are a little off, with downcast, distant eyes, taffy torsos, and, occasionally, feet that seem rather large in comparison to their small heads. The figures appear in sweeping community settings, like a block party or summer camp, but upon closer inspection, they’re each sort of just doing their own thing in a manner reminiscent of the popular life simulation video game series, The Sims. 

There’s an undoubtedly chic elegance to these otherwise ordinary settings and characters. Every subject’s outfit is carefully considered, with muted but intentional colors, like berry or teal, and a clear flair for style. The juxtaposition of their editorial looks with their odd behavior (some flail their arms, others drag on the ground) and ambiguous backdrops — as seen in The Fulfillment Center (2022) and Cottage Industry (2022) — creates a fun tension that gives way to imaginative ideas about what each of their narratives might be and where they might be taking place.

Morris’ process begins with images clipped from the pages of popular American magazines from the 1940s through the 1970s. She reconstructs and collages her selections before painting over them with flat colors. Their magazine origins give these subjects their editorial quality, but it’s Morris’ vision and idiosyncratic flourishes that make you want to dive into each of their interior worlds.

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Photo: Hannah Morris. Cottage Industry, 2022. Flashe and paper collage on panel, 36 x 48 inches (91.4 x 121.9 cm), image courtesy of the gallery and the artist.