September 15 – November 12, 2022
Opening reception: Thursday, September 15, 6-8pm
Childs Gallery is pleased to present Where Light Dances: On the Ocean and In My Memories, an exhibition of new work by Joan Hall. Hall’s mixed media sculptures and installations are inspired by her climate change advocacy and recent personal crisis, building a story explored through cause and effect, control and surrender, love and loss.
Hall’s large-scale sculptural works emphasize the materials of handmade paper, glass, and metal, and address her deep connection to and concern for the Earth’s oceans. A lifelong sailor, Hall uses her art to promote marine advocacy, primarily regarding the human impact on water quality. From her home and studio in Jamestown, Rhode Island, Hall sees the effects of climate change firsthand.
Hall incorporates plastics and assorted trash found on local beaches into collagraph printing plates which impress haunting images of human waste onto handmade paper. She also uses vibrant pigments to color her pieces in hues that mimic destructive algae found propagating in non-native waters. Her papers are sculpted into undulating wave-like forms that are a beautiful but cautionary reminder of humankind’s role in widespread oceanic pollution. Ultimately, Hall’s goal is to initiate a conversation about the deterioration of our greatest resource – water, in the hope that her message yields positive change.
While the immersive works in Where Light Dances express Hall’s despair and hope concerning climate change, they also address recent personal grief after the loss of her husband, art historian Mark S. Weil. The exhibition connects global catastrophe and personal tragedy through works that resonate with both the artist and audience. Sculptures like Ocean Library and Love, Loss, Serenity incorporate physical and emotional reminders of Weil into the art, while also reflecting upon worldwide issues such as the degradation of sand and the unexplained disappearance of sea urchins, respectively.
The exhibition title, Where Light Dances, is taken from Victoria Finlay’s book Color: A Natural History of the Palette, referencing a passage detailing the author’s childhood visit to Chartres Cathedral and the dazzling impression of its vivid stained glass. Hall’s work similarly utilizes color and memory to craft a story global in scale and human in feeling, tackling ubiquitous truths and private hardships. Where Light Dances weaves together hope for the future health of our oceans and optimism in the face of private grief, through Hall’s organic and engaging paper forms.