Peeler Portraits: Self-Reflective Self-Portraits


Both Vincent Van Gogh and Jackson Pollock are quoted for talking about the deep personal ties between the painter and the painting. This connection allows for paintings to be a reflection upon oneself, as well as a platform for the artist’s subconscious to emerge. This meditative process that painting provides is what draws sophomore Hannah Metzger to this medium.

Being the daughter of an artist, Hannah has been making marks on pieces of paper since her childhood. But it wasn’t until her senior year of high school that she became conscientious of what she was making. Coming into college, Hannah knew that she would be studying art. Her first campus visit was facilitated by painting professor John Berry.

Over the summer she worked in a ceramics studio, which is littered with clay cups, bowls, and other items that she created. Hannah has experience in a handful of mediums. Photography, or the process of changing images, is something that she enjoys doing. By altering images, she is able to emphasize different parts or messages within the picture. However, despite her abilities in these different mediums, painting is the one that she likes best. While she paints with acrylic now, she used oils in high school, and claims to be impartial to the type of paint that she uses.

Jos Fox: What do your paintings mean to you?

Hannah Metzger: My paintings are self portraits. Recently, I started realizing that there is some religious imagery tied to them. I was raised Catholic, so I have a lot of that in my background. I am very interested how in my paintings there is a clear distinction between female and male. In my recent paintings it has only been myself. But it has been almost like a, well, people say that my paintings depict almost an Lilith type person. Lilith was the first woman before Eve, but got kicked out Eden because she didn’t want to obey Adam. Due to this, Lilith has become almost this female demon. There are a lot of bad things about her. I don’t know if I want to go for a demon, but how strong is a religious tie in my art. Religious imagery, whether it is stain glass or other images, a lot of them don’t have religion in them. But because they have Christianity tied to them, it evokes a lot of emotion from people. I want to see if my art can do that as well.

JF: What artists do you study?

HM: Gauguin and Matisse are the main ones. There are some modern people that I have painted like, too. Or contemporaries.

JF: What do you hope to do with art?

HM: I don’t know. I’m not sure what my future will be. I always want to make art, so we will see what happens. The other part of me likes puzzles, and solving them. So I would be interested in combining those two things.

JF: What would your dream exhibit look like?

HM: It would be in France. But if you could have such a thing, it would be in a small town but a high end gallery. Which sounds kind of annoying. It would be in the countryside of France. Probably just because I like the landscape there. But it would be with a gallery like David Zwirner. I would be selling my paintings for lots of money to say “F*** you” to Sotheby’s, because they sell artists’ paintings for lots of money and the artist doesn’t get any of it.