Hana Ward: an exit from this room and others like it

3301 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90018
Mar 27, 12 PM - 5 PM — ends May 08, 2021
Ochi Projects is pleased to present an exit from this room and others like it, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles based artist Hana Ward. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery and the work will be on view from March 27th – May 8th, 2021.

Ward’s newest oil paintings and ceramic works offer a visual narrative for what the artist describes as “a liberation in the mind.” With so much time spent trapped in divergent states this past year, reading and reflecting, watching the news – vacillating between feelings of hopelessness and anticipation – Ward found herself thinking about the experience of transformation, of coming into one’s power – specifically about how this experience might unfold for Black women.

While they stand alone as complete moments, stories and visual metaphors, Ward considers each portrait in the show representative of a step within a mental journey, the interior woman’s evolution. Self protection, self preservation and contortion in a two-piece both explore the compromises one might allow in order to meet the expectation of others. That drinking-wine-kind-of-thinking and life’s a trip are similar paintings in that they both feature figures sitting alone enjoying a beverage. One is drinking wine and the other tea, presumably we are meant to ponder the difference in the quality of one’s choices and thoughts while drinking alone, wine versus tea.

Despite the overall contemplative, wistful mood Ward’s subjects project, there is a sense that these women have come to know how to maneuver through the world. In Where you end and I begin, the main figure looks back over her shoulder as if to say, where I’m going, you’re not invited to follow – this woman is self-possessed and knows her boundaries. And our most visibly assertive protagonist in Anakaona (defend the land) is prepared, but patient, she knows how to choose her battles. (Anakaona was an indigenous queen of Haiti (then called Ayiti) who died defending the land when Christopher Columbus and other euro-Christians landed and invaded in 1492).

Installed in the back gallery is a collection of various domestic items made of ceramic. Clocks, mirrors and lamps are displayed alongside text the artist has collected over the years. Phrases such as "slowly, with all your sovereignty,” "declare your own state of mind. Your mental dimension belongs to you," and "the health of the land is its capacity for self-renewal," exist, in the context of these objects, as something between motivational quotes and poetic admonitions.

Taken individually and as a whole, Ward’s most recent paintings and ceramic works invite viewers to create more loving space within themselves, allowing for the potential to thrive during an otherwise unforgiving and isolating time. Each portrait relays a deeply personal inner metamorphosis that also manifests outwardly, through an individual’s outlook and approach to life, and even possibly, optimistically, as a society at large.

Hana Ward is a painter and ceramicist from Los Angeles, California. She earned a B.A. from Brown University in 2011. Recent solo exhibitions include “what was there all along” at Ochi Projects in Los Angeles, and “sing about me” (2019) at Harun Gallery in Los Angeles. Recent group exhibitions include “Mutual Friends” (2020) in Oakland, California, “Giant Robot Post-It Show (2019) and “Animating the Archives” (2017) in Los Angeles.