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D.J. Hall Thirty-Five Year Retrospective

May 24 - September 14, 2008

 

A new exhibition D.J. Hall Thirty-Five Year Retrospective will be on view at the Palm Springs Art Museum from May 24 to September 14, 2008 and will feature approximately fifty paintings, as well as extensive photographs, drawings, color studies and notes that Hall uses in preparation for her large paintings. These supportive materials provide an insight into the artist's elaborate planning process. Also included is a three-dimensional installation used on the set of the film Spanglish where Hall advised on the scenic design and recreated one of her paintings. Photographic film stills included in the exhibition contextualize this setting. (right: D. J. Hall, Happy Ending, 2001, Oil on linen. Collection of David Eidenberg & Sam Watters)

In addition, the exhibition includes a series of desert night paintings, pencil and oil works featuring nighttime pool and landscape scenes. A number of pieces are composed of multiple, sequential images that form a visual narrative reading like an autobiography. Portraying the passage of time in her work is an ongoing interest. "I like to think that my pieces are a visual diary of my journey towards maturity and self-acceptance," says Hall.

Hall, a southern California artist, developed a distinctive style of painting that presents the sun-saturated world of Southern California women. Her paintings are inspired by the artist's visits to Palm Springs' pools and resorts and Los Angeles' posh Westside and beaches. Depictions of privileged, beautiful women grinning with self-satisfaction against the inevitable ravages of time became the basis of Hall's imagery. Employing a realist style of painting, the artist celebrates the color and quality of light in sunny environments. Yet, these emotionally charged works pack compelling thoughts for viewers who choose to look beyond the pretty faces and scenes. Beneath the surface beauty lurks a certain "edge" evoking an uneasy feeling that something is amiss. In revealing herself through these poignant and personal images, the artist lures us into deeper consideration of our own yearnings for eternal youth and our inability to face what inevitably comes with human mortality.

Combining a skill for capturing intense color and light and portraying women, her images often feature other genres within the painting -- including still life, landscape and water studies. Reflected in her artwork is her pre-occupation with fleeting youth, aging and the cultural expression of self-image.

Prior to painting, Hall photographs her subjects in a variety of settings, ranging from afternoon desert scenes to evening leisure poolside cocktails. With brilliant coloration and an extraordinary sensitivity to detail, the finished compositions are drawn from various real and imagined sources. These "precious moments," as the artist has described them, investigate how time and memory can instantly and viscerally project us back to someone or somewhere we once knew.

Over the course of her 35-year career, Hall's subject matter has been remarkably consistent. Her earlier work presented a critical commentary on aging, beauty and appearance. Now the attention is focused on the deliberate staging of the location and models. A behind the scene, film-like quality, has emerged as Hall finds herself performing as a director within the compositions. (left: D. J. Hall, Recuerdos, 1998, Oil on panel. Collection of Grafton P. Tanquary)

Although women have been the apparent subject matter in her paintings, light has been and remains the primary subject in her work. Its ability to evoke a sense of time, place and memory fascinates the artist. The paintings are not copies of real settings ­ they are highly contrived composites of various real and imagined sources. Hall approaches each new painting as though she is producing a film. For the photo sessions, she devises scenarios for the models so they will project what the artist envisions. With the resulting photos she adds, deletes, and re-configures information to achieve a strong visual structure which conveys her current interests.

 

(above: D. J. Hall, Farewell to Summer - Labor Day Evening, 1998, Oil on panel. Collection of Mary & Steve Mizroch)

 



(above: D. J. Hall, Mirage, 2002-2003, Oil on linen. Collection of Morton & Sally Kirshner)

 

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