Weir Farm artist mixes gender and sexuality

WILTON — Finding strength, power and beauty in ordinary objects are some of the qualities that define the works of Hannah Sklar, Weir Farm’s artist-in-residence for the month of February.

The public will have the opportunity to meet Sklar and view samples of Sklar’s work at Wilton Library on Monday, Feb. 24, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., upstairs in the Rimer Room.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Sklar, 23, graduated from Oberlin College in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree with high honors in visual art.

Sklar’s art has been exhibited in Ohio, Minnesota, New York City and California. Works include drawings, ceramic sculpture, and mixed media using clay, paint and graphite, and even discarded sports objects.

Sklar combines representational forms and imagery that denote the power, subjugation and performativity associated with gender.

“I describe myself as an artist who draws abstract imagery and creates mixed media ceramic sculptures. I imply abstraction through sculpture and drawing to deconstruct a predetermined visual language and restrictive discourse that categorize us. I create visual gradients of reality. I feel that abstraction is my way of dwelling in the unattainable, creating queer images that are not easily defined and evoke beauty and corporal strength. I take pleasure in physical tasks and think the meticulous nature of my drawings and sculptures reflects my interest in the body and how to visually represent strength,” Sklar told the Bulletin.

Mixing gender and sexuality, Sklar strives to connect to the undefined. Several of Sklar’s works feature deconstructed baseballs that evoke eroticism by conceiving representations of femininity, merged with projected notions of masculinity.

“Baseball as a historical American pastime promotes patriarchal domination. This is instilled within the ball’s material makeup: bound leather holding layers of wrapped string, holding a small pink rubber ball. By creating, I take control of what I cannot control. I queer this gendered object to transcend a label and allow you to see the beauty in the undefined,” said Sklar.

Sklar is influenced by artists whose work is interdisciplinary or engages in surreal imagery. “The two artists I am inspired by, currently, are Julia Phillips, a German mixed-media ceramic sculptor, focusing on creating tools or devices of oppression/restraint on the body and Mirka Luugosi, a French artist/illustrator who inventively explores the femme form in fantastical environments,” Sklar said.

A National Historic Site, Weir Farm is at 735 Nod Hill Road. Weir’s Artist-in-Residence program selects 10 artists to live and work at Weir Farm each year. To date, over 200 artists from throughout the U.S., as well as Tunisia, Germany, Australia, India and the Netherlands have participated in the program.