by Annabel Osberg ·
Heidi Hahn‘s grandly scaled paintings lend iconic status to plain-Jane women going about quotidian routines. Breezily limned in free-flowing brushstrokes and translucent washes, her anonymous characters appear lost in dreamy, meditative worlds even as they shop, sweep, picnic and scroll through their smartphones. In contrast to society’s usual preoccupation with women’s appearance, Hahn de-emphasizes her subjects’ physicality, leaving their identities generic in favor of accentuating states of mind. Obscurely rendered in moody, multilayered transparencies, the women in paintings such as Burn Out in Shredded Heaven 10(2018-19) appear as specters inhabiting liminal realms where daydreams overlay dull realities. It’s difficult to determine exactly what Hahn’s figures are doing, or where they are; yet they exude potent emotion. In Burn Out in Shredded Heaven 6(2018-19, pictured above), a girl leans on her broom during a pensive moment in the middle of sweeping a floor. Her short white garment could be a lab coat, janitorial smock or nightshirt. Is she a scientist, a maid, or a girl tidying up her house? It matters not, for this idle moment stolen from spring-cleaning drudgery now belongs to her—who could stand for anyone.