The picture of a life-size black horse dominates the exhibition of the American artist Hannah Dougherty (born 1980 in Philadelphia). The glossy coat appears very natural and one is almost tempted to touch the picture’s velvety surface. On the other hand, the perfection and extremely detailed nature of the painting or drawing are disrupted by the fact that it is left unfinished. The picture carrier is made of rough boards joined together and in certain parts of the picture the painting remains sketchy and fragmented and is reminiscent to some extent of something spontaneous and unreflective. It has the energy of children’s drawings. Her works thus remain open and clearly reveal the development process. In her work, Dougherty combines photos she has found with drawings and paintings in collages and montages. Some of the photos are combined with strictly geometrical painted patterns or very gestural and expressive paintings. However, she always maintains the character of the design.
Often her paintings, drawings, collages and montages are populated by hybrids of human and animal figures or pure animal hybrids that seem to have sprung from Greek mythology. But the usual pets such as budgies or parrots also emerge or animals such as those that are known from illustrations in historical text books or nature guides. .
Her works reject a one-dimensional interpretation, but it is certainly not an overinterpretation if one sees the domestication of nature as an underlying theme in Dougherty's works. The technically analytical illustrations of the animal kingdom that underlie many of her works are likewise a reference to how they are connected to the geometric diamond designs or how the works are integrated into all the houses/abodes in which she occasionally places her works.
Found in Dougherty’s work are both the echoes of surrealism through the fusion of contrasting realities as well as pop art, through the processing of images that she finds in advertising and/or general popular culture.