Darci Hanna

MFA ’24 Fine Arts 2D

My recent works consider the persistent boundaries and constraints of traditional gender roles that point to deeper systems of value within the dominant culture in the United States. In my latest body of work, I aim to tease out the numerous subtle rules that define the contours of mothers’ lives, while they also navigate intense social pressures to live up to unrealistic maternal standards – to be beautiful, infallible, inexhaustible, and self-sacrificing. I draw on my interest in sociology and linguistics as well as my professional background as an art historian to inform my studio practice. Historical and archival research often helps shape my work. From baking and serving breast-shaped cookies (that emphasize breasts’ primary function of providing nourishment) to creating quilts inspired by paleolithic figurines and historic birthing practices, I question contemporary social beliefs about who deserves bodily autonomy, how different bodies are valued, and whose physical and emotional labor is seen, appreciated, and compensated.

Darci Hanna is an interdisciplinary artist and curator based in Somerville, Massachusetts. She is fascinated by the places where nature and culture interact, where biology and physiology become enmeshed in social and religious narratives and power structures. Recent works focus on the complicated cultural landscape surrounding gender roles, objectification, breastfeeding, and early motherhood. In addition to painting, printmaking, and sculpting, she uses techniques inspired by traditional domestic arts such as sewing, quilting, weaving, and embroidering.