The Tex­ture of Life

Arabella - - NEWS - Brett An­ning­son

The art of Donna J Hall seeks to cap­ture the imag­i­na­tion in vivid ab­strac­tion, while si­mul­ta­ne­ously cap­tur­ing some­thing of the defin­ing fea­ture of our hu­man char­ac­ter. Her vis­ual land­scapes ex­plore the marks left by el­e­ments erod­ing the sur­faces and depths of our planet. The re­sult­ing pat­terns and tex­tures are re­flected in the ar­che­typal sym­bols and mo­tifs that ap­pear in pre­his­toric art and ar­ti­facts. These forms are truly univer­sal in na­ture and part of the vis­ual lan­guage we use in defin­ing our cul­tures, cre­at­ing our myths and recre­at­ing our en­vi­ron­ment. By that to­ken, it is easy to get lost in her paint­ings. Donna is ac­tu­ally driven to cre­ate by a com­plex in­ter­ac­tion of ideas and events. She is in­spired by the vis­ual rich­ness of the nat­u­ral land­scape, her love of travel and the re­veal­ing ex­pe­ri­ence of other cul­tures. She sees these tex­tured slices of his­tory as a type of ar­chae­o­log­i­cal dig, even the graf­fiti­cov­ered walls of ur­ban land­scapes tell a story. Donna of­ten be­gins her paint­ings with a com­plex sur­face of marks in acrylic and plas­ter, col­laged pa­pers and tex­tured ma­te­ri­als. She con­tin­ues lay­er­ing with more paint and plas­ter – scrap­ing and mask­ing the sur­face to re­veal glimpses of other lay­ers. The paint­ing be­comes a his­tory of its own de­vel­op­ment. She sees her process par­al­lel­ing the nat­u­ral forces of time that build, erode and de­cay. Donna's hope is that the re­sult­ing paint­ings will be elusive, yet sug­ges­tive of the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween nat­u­ral and man-made en­vi­ron­ments. Born in 1952 in North Bay, On­tario, her fam­ily moved to Ottawa in 1961, where she at­tended pub­lic school and blos­somed in terms of artis­tic tal­ent. The paint­ing and draw­ing cour­ses in high school helped so­lid­ify that, and in 1971 Donna moved to Toronto to at­tend the On­tario Col­lege of Art. Af­ter com­plet­ing the two-year ground

left, At­tend­ing Chance, acrylic plas­ter on board, 36" x 48" above, Memory Lines, acrylic plas­ter on board, 54" x 48"

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