JOHN HALL "FLASH FRAME" FEBRUARY 24 - MARCH 10, 2018 IN TORONTO

Loch Gallery is delighted to present “Flash Frame”, an exhibition of recent paintings from the Flash series and Framed series by internationally renowned high realist painter John Hall. Hall is concerned with describing the appearance of things and his still life paintings continue to reflect our contemporary consciousness. With subject matter ranging from fruits and vegetables, donuts and candies, treasured keepsakes and disposable everyday household items, to masks and stones, Hall celebrates the way he sees light defining form from a very specific place and time.

His experience in Mexico made an indelible impression on his life and has remained in his artistic vocabulary into the present. Hall first found inspiration in San Miguel de Allende in the sixties and had a second home there through the nineties. Paintings like “Scar” (1995) reflect the memorable impact that Mexico left on the artist. A cornucopia of objects populates the canvas - from the rubber lizard and ceramic figurine to the keys and shiny metal objects, all laid down on a coloured plastic and aluminum foil background - reminiscent of Dutch 17th-century memento mori painters. Yet, as Patricia Ainslie comments in her book Okanagan Artists in their Studios, “[Hall’s] selection of subject matter is often cheeky and ironic and he is attracted to subjects we do not often expect to find in ‘respectable’ painting.”

Hall takes great care in arranging his compositions, with a focus on symmetry. While they may suggest a lack of formal arrangement, they are always carefully considered. “Irony is at play here,” says Hall, “as I have always found pleasure in working hard at making the considered seem casual or accidental.” An integral tool for translating his compositions to canvas, the camera has been in his technical repertoire since 1980. In recent years, Hall has been using Photoshop-processed digital files, and works from reference images on a large format computer monitor in his studio along with photographic prints to create his paintings.

Hall’s recent works from the Flash series, begun in 2014, depict fruits and vegetables, either out in the open or bagged, and set against dark backgrounds or on reflective surfaces of tinfoil and plastic. The works have an evocative, timeless quality in the vein of the Dutch masters. Paintings like “Flash: Tempting Fate” show Hall’s mastery of the acrylic medium. He uses traditional techniques in his work, building three or more layers of colour with acrylic paint to develop chromatic intensity. To solve the problem of acrylic’s tendency to dry quickly, Hall adds airbrushing to his process to increase the colour intensity and soften the transitions from dark to light, with final glazes on top for transparency. 

Since graduating from the Alberta College of Art in 1964, John Hall has wrestled with the challenge of creating an art which involves framing reality in such a way as to announce that what is contained in the frame is not real. However, in 2016, he began a series of works depicting framed paintings that, surprisingly, fully embrace the conventions of trompe l’oeil painting. Hall wants viewers to first believe that they’re looking at framed paintings and only on closer inspection realize that the frame is painted and an integral part of the painting. In his “Framed: Yellow Punch” the frame is rendered with the goal of fooling viewers, if only for an instant, into believing it is real. The painting in the frame, by contrast, contains rendered objects seemingly four or five times larger than life.

“Framed: Yellow Punch” led to a subset of paintings depicting the backs of paintings. These works, through their inclusion of details like old labels, hardware, scratchings, and bits of tape celebrate the trompe l’oeil tradition. “Vessel (Verso)”, a painting of the back of the painting “Vessel”, is explicit in its attempt to fool viewers into believing they are, in fact, looking at the back of a painting. This has been a constant and favourite theme of trompe l'oeil painters from Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts (1630-1683) and Claudio Bravo (1936-2011). Not only does the artist make us scrutinize everyday objects, he makes those objects suggest stories. As Hall’s long-time artist friend Alexandra Haeseker comments, his paintings exist at an intersection where “subject, object, narrative, and meaning collide into mastery.”

Selected artwork: 
Scar by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Scar
Acrylic on Canvas
60 x 73 in
Available
Framed: Whitehorse by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Whitehorse
Acrylic on canvas
40 x 40 in
Available
Framed: Whitehorse Verso by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Whitehorse Verso
Acrylic on Canvas
40 x 40 in
Available
Framed: Blaze by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Blaze
Acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 in
Available
Flash:Tempting Fate by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Flash:Tempting Fate
Acrylic on Canvas
45 x 56 in
Available
Framed: Phoenix 1 by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Phoenix 1
Acrylic on Canvas
40 x 40 in
Available
Framed:Shooter (verso) by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed:Shooter (verso)
Acrylic on Canvas
24 x 24 in
Available
Flash: Spin by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Flash: Spin
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 36 in
Available
Framed: Donut 5 by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Donut 5
Acrylic on canavs
30 x 30 in
Available
Framed: Donut 3 by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Donut 3
Acrylic on Canvas
30 x 30 in
Sold
Framed: Donut 1 by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Donut 1
Acrylic on Canvas
12 x 12 in
Available
Framed: Cat's Eye (Verso) by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Cat's Eye (Verso)
Acrylic on Canvas
20 x 24 in
Available
Framed: Cat's Eye by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Cat's Eye
Acrylic on Canvas
20 x 24 in
Available
Framed: Donut 4 (verso) by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Donut 4 (verso)
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 36 in
Sold
Framed:Donut 4 by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed:Donut 4
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 36 in
Sold
Framed:Yellow Punch by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed:Yellow Punch
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 36 in
Available
Framed: Vessel by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed: Vessel
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 36 in
Available
Framed- Vessel (Verso) by John  Hall
(click to enlarge)
John Hall - Framed- Vessel (Verso)
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 36 in
Available
Date(s): 
Saturday, February 24, 2018 - 10:00am - Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 5:00pm
Artist(s): 
Location(s): 
Loch Gallery, Toronto

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