Joice Hall, "Ominous Beauty," oil on canvas, 2004, 24" X 72". Private collection.
Surreal.Real.Ideal, March 20 to May 23,2010, Kelowna Art Gallery
BY: Portia Priegert
Joice Hall is known now as a painter of large-scale landscapes that depict, in precise detail, the panoramic sweep of B.C.’s Okanagan Valley, a place she and her husband, fellow painter John Hall, have called home for a decade. But an upcoming 40-year retrospective at the Kelowna Art Gallery posits that Hall’s work goes beyond realism, and teams ‘the real’ with notions of ‘the surreal’ and ‘the ideal’ as organizing principles. “At the core of Hall’s art is realism, and a belief in the power of representation in its various forms within a nature-based imagery,” the show’s curator, Patricia Ainslie, writes in the catalogue essay. But Hall, who passed through an early phase of figurative work, reaches beyond the mundane, entering a terrain of introspection and reverence. “Her work goes beyond what the eye can see,” says Ainslie. The artist agrees: “What I’m trying to do in all the paintings is to bring forth a very spiritual, universal quality in the work so that everybody, no matter where they are, can look at it, understand it and get some kind of spiritual feeling, whether it be the landscape, or still life, or people, or festivals in Mexico.”