“Now this is now.” The phrase, quoted from author David Foster Wallace, was featured prominently in HANNA PETTYJOHN’s earlier show, The American Sweet (2009). Now, with Bundle, PETTYJOHN propels the continued ascension of this thought (mantra), while also marking a departure from her previous work. Beyond the logistical difference of producing the work in Texas for the first time rather than Manila, there is a shift in the larger tone.
The American Sweet documented experiences of working and visiting family in Texas through portraits in which the subjects wore dust masks. Paintings of sterile interiors and street scenes further conveyed a brooding disconnection with the setting and its inhabitants. With Year of Glad (2010), paintings of her maternal and paternal grandparents as well as aerial maps of their distant homes served as a means of bridging PETTYJOHN’s perceptions of the Philippines, America and their dueling positions in her family’s history, as vividly portrayed by the criss-crossing wooden arrows littered throughout the four chambers of the show.
Words by Matthew Jones