Susan Hall

Susan Hall was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and has been a Chicago area resident since 1993. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States, including shows in Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, and Seattle. Her honors include a Georgia Council for the Arts grant, a Community Arts Assistance Program grant (Chicago), and a Best in Show award at the Chicago Anti-Cruelty Society's Animal Images exhibition juried by the late Ed Paschke. Hall received her MFA from the University of Georgia and her BA from Connecticut College.

Writes curator and artist Thomas Masters about Hall's work: "Susan Hall paints people, usually women or young girls, large animals such as deer or sheep, and sometimes birds. Her human figures are often family members whom she photographs in various poses that will eventually be used as references for her painting surfaces, while her animals and birds are often taken from books and found photos.

She begins her process by priming a birch panel. She likes to use her hands when applying the gesso because this starts to free her mind from the anxieties of beginning. At this point, she has a good idea where she will place the various pieces of lace that will ultimately result in creating what has become her signature background. The lace is pressed into the wet gesso and allowed to dry. In the next steps, she painstakingly removes the lace, which has now left its impression on the surface, and she begins to brush on the first motions of color. The figure is the last element in the process.

When Hall is at her very best, her figures appear turned away from, perhaps indifferent to, the viewer; she sometimes takes away all reference to place or landscape and suspends the forms in the softened lace patterns. A young girl sits, looking calmly, almost meditatively, into a void of texture and light. The pose and the atmosphere suggest that this girl's thoughts are not of the everyday and common variety; rather she seems to contemplate deeper, more profound issues and aspects of the human condition, the specifics of which remain unknown but compelling. In fact, this uncertainty of meaning is what enables us to return again and again to the subject of Hall's paintings, each time renewing our interest in the artist's intention, drawn to the mysteries and elusive sensations she has left us to deliberate.

When Hall paints animals, we feel her sense of reverence for all living things; her respect for something sacred in the balance of nature and all its intricate workings. When she paints a stag in a clearing, bending to drink from the stream, she creates the effect that we, the viewer, have just happened on this delicate moment and we are quieted by the fear that this beautiful, wild creature will bolt off into the thicket. She seems to say,"Look at this amazing moment you have just discovered: Respect the stillness and treasure it." Unlike Hall's human figures, her animals often benefit from being turned toward us, their eyes fixed on us as symbols of nature and its solemn challenge to man's interruptions and intrusions into the delicate balance of things."

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Winter Forest, 40x35, oil on panel

Visitation, 8x10, oil on panel

Iris Field, 43x48, oil on panel

Illumination, 22x34, oil on panel

Equinox, 35x40, oil on panel

Harmony, 44x54, oil on panel

Haven, 35x44, oil on panel

Connection, 24x34, oil on panel

Bloom, 27x27, oil on panel

Also Available

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Chronicle, 48x43, oil on panel

Gathering, 51x43, oil on panel

Autumn, 40x35, oil on panel

Canopy, 11x22, oil on panel

Ease, 40x35, oil on panel

Invocation, 51x43, oil on panel

Faithful, 43x51, oil on panel

Caribou, 51x43, oil on panel

Lake, 43x53, oil on panel