Born in England’s Merseyside, Gordon travelled to Australia with his parents at the age of five, spending most of his childhood and teenage years on his parent’s property in rural southeast Queensland. He began drawing from an early age, recording the landscape around him. His subjects were those found in every country town; wildlife, old barns, abandoned cars, horses, botanicals.
After graduating with a degree in biology, he began his career illustrating scientific papers, developing a talent for meticulous accuracy and realism, drawing and painting subjects from life. This rare synergy of artist and anatomist lends Gordon’s drawings a dynamic, energetic sensibility. With immaculate attention to detail Gordon’s work has both an incisive realism and sensitive, aesthetic beauty. His first solo exhibition was held in 1990 and featured 33 paintings, all of which sold out on opening night. Since then, every solo exhibition has produced sell-out results.
For several years Gordon dedicated himself to the ‘Jewels of Nature’ project: a large folio limited edition book on Parrots of the world which involved the creation of 244 exquisite watercolour paintings. During this time he was also Wildlife Artist in Residence at the Queensland Museum. The widely collected folio represents an achievement of serious historical significance.
More recently Gordon has been creating drawings in 24ct gold metal on prepared paper using a method resurrected from the Renaissance. Silverpoint was the drawing medium of the Old Masters - Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, Durer and Michelangelo. It is an almost forgotten medium where the artist drew on a specially coated paper with a fine silver rod. Gordon’s goldpoint drawings are rendered in a photorealist style which may take many months to complete. Each artwork, which consists of hundreds of thousands of individual lines drawn with a gold wire, is the product of extreme patience, precision and time.
Drawings done entirely in 24ct gold have a much warmer tone than drawings in pencil and when tilted to the light, the warm grey drawings come alive: reflecting in a shimmer of golden light. Portraits and figure drawings created in gold have an ethereal iridescent beauty quite unlike those produced by other drawing media.
Gordon Hanley’s artwork can be found in many private and corporate collections throughout Australia and overseas (most notably HH Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of UAE) and also in the National Library (Canberra), The Queensland State Library, State Library of South Australia, and UCLA.