Photo by Mikael Trench.

With an M.F.A. in painting from SCAD, Hannah Shepard has learned how to use her creativity and inspiration to create works that have wowed people all throughout the South. If you were to ask Shepard’s relationship with painting, she would say it has always been part of her life.

“It’s always just been something I can’t not do,” said Shepard. “I see it as a challenge of continuous improvement.”

She has brought some of her most exceptional pieces to SCAD Atlanta for a limited time with the Dizzy Gates thesis exhibition. Featuring 11 of Shepard’s vividly diverse works, it is clear that she intends to stir emotions through the use of color, abstract shapes, and, most notably, light.

“I am capturing exciting and ephemeral moments of light that represent fleeting moments of celebration,” said Shepard. “If I can get the viewer to feel anything from awe to excitement to happiness to curiosity then I feel the work is successful. I’ve learned that there is this sweet spot between perception and deception that really intrigues the viewer, and I think that can be found through a mixture of abstraction and representation.”

“Orbs” by Hannah Shepard.

Upon entering the gallery, it is clear that color and light play a major role within all the pieces. Each piece feels like it has an identity all of their own. What made these works even more incredible was the inspiration behind them.

“For me, a love for music has always been second nature,” said Shepard. “Attending concerts and music festivals became my ultimate hobby and escape from reality. The events also use light as a major form of entertainment and I realized from photos that I was capturing all of these amazing moments that would have otherwise been forgotten. By drawing and painting these images, I realized how light could continue to be transformed and turned into something tangible and no longer ephemeral.”

Each piece in the exhibit stood out so much that picking a favorite is impossible. When asked about which piece she felt was her best, Shepard said, “This is a difficult question because each piece was a stepping point into the next piece. I believe ‘Lightscape’ and ‘Floater’ were pivotal paintings for me because I was no longer representing light in a flat way, but instead layering it to create depth.”

“Floater” by Hannah Shepard.
“Lightscape” by Hannah Shepard.

By using the world around her to inspire pieces with such simplicity and vibrancy, Hannah Shepard has in turn evoked feelings of passion, beauty, grace and celebration.

Be sure to see her work in the Trois Gallery before the exhibition closes. The exhibition runs through Friday, April 28 from 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and there will be an opening reception Thursday, April 20 from 5–7 p.m.