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Skye Gallery explores Spencer Hansen’s surreal universe through ‘Tethered Worlds’
Behind ClosedEyes sculptures by Spencer Hansen
Image: Courtesy of Skye Gallery

Skye Gallery explores Spencer Hansen’s surreal universe through ‘Tethered Worlds’

The ‘Tethered Worlds’ exhibition showcases whimsical creatures born from daydreams, emphasising Spencer Hansen's fusion of natural materials and creativity. 

by Ria Jha
Published on : Apr 06, 2024

Despite being dismissed as simple mental meandering, ‘daydreaming’ is a potent cognitive process essential to creativity, problem-solving, and emotional health. In the realm of imagination, individuals embark on journeys beyond the confines of reality, exploring alternate realities, envisioning possibilities, and contemplating desires. Within the vast landscape of their daydreams, designers find themselves surrounded by a multitude of imaginative scenarios, inspiring ideas, and abstract notions all of which serve to stimulate their creative process.

Turning his daydreaming meanders into reality, Multimedia artist Spencer Hansen creates idiosyncratic creatures. “They come from my own stories. I daydream and doodle them into existence and then spend as much time as I can bringing them into physical form," shares Hansen. Through a deliberate fusion of technical prowess and creativity, the product designer crafts multimedia sculptures that resonate with viewers, exuding an otherworldly tenderness that invites them to share in his artistic vision.

The most recent exhibition by Skye Gallery in their New York space from April 4 to May 26, 2024, titled Tethered Worlds, is an investigation into an uncharted territory inhabited by endearing and whimsical creatures by Hansen. In this surreal world, one meets wobbly four-legged friends, affectionate hugging fluffernutters, enigmatic faceted space monkeys, and other curiously familiar yet warmly welcoming beings. Commenting on the inspiration behind his sculptural art, Hansen relays, “I get asked about inspiration a lot. Curiosity, travelling, my beginner’s mind, my childhood in rural Idaho, and learning and adapting all contribute. I mostly don’t feel a sense of ownership over what is coming through, only an appreciation for when creativity does flow. Daydreaming is a big part of my creative process. I set up my workshop to be able to transform an idea into reality through exploring different mediums. I am also willing to repeat a process as many times as it takes until I feel good about it. I use a lot of repetition in my work as well. Visually, I find repetition inspiring.”

A strong dedication to natural materials acts as a compass and a major source of inspiration for Hansen's creative work. While his focus may shift between mediums, from the organic warmth of wood to the malleable versatility of ceramic or the softness of fibre and fur, even to the sturdy resilience of metal, he unwaveringly utilises elements sourced from the natural world for his product designs. “All of my art uses natural materials. I shift focus from wood to ceramic or fibre, fur, or metal but stay committed to natural material. I like the way you can shape and move with natural materials. The tactile sensation, the feeling, texture, quality, relatability. There is an undeniable sense of aliveness that I feel connected to,” the sculptural artist shares. The organic quality of these materials speaks to Hansen on a deeper level than just aesthetics; it evokes a sense of vitality that he finds very relatable. His artistic endeavours aim to encapsulate and communicate this liveliness, fostering a palpable bond between the observer and the environment.

Hansen's artwork reminds us of the limitless possibility that lies within the depths of our thoughts and the physical beauty that can emerge when we dare to dream, as his quirky creatures come to life. His work serves as a subtle reminder to pause, reflect, and appreciate the magic of the invisible in a culture that is all too often consumed by the tangible and the immediate. Through his creations, he invites us to rediscover the wonder of daydreaming and the natural world's inherent life, encouraging us to explore the depths of our imaginations in search of comfort, inspiration, and meaningful answers.

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