November 11, 2012

Art Review: Tom Hall at June Fitzpatrick: Powerful, powerful stuff

By DANIEL KANY

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

“Bigelow II” by Tom Hall

Courtesy photos

click image to enlarge

Hall's diptych “Greenville II”

Additional Photos Below

ART REVIEW

TOM HALL: "PAINTINGS"

WHERE: June Fitzpatrick Gallery, 522 Congress St., Portland

WHEN: Through Dec. 1

HOURS: Noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday

INFO: 699-5083; junefitzpatrickgallery.com

Many of the trees have a reductive sculptural feel imbued by Hall's painting the white sky between the tree branches as the top layer (think impasto). It's a strange but effective approach -- he excavates his solid forms from a block as though carving with opaque white.

These are simply structured paintings; a tree and a horizon line that differentiates land from sky.

This vague essentialism is why they succeed, but it's also how Hall can use surface textures and glazed layers (he uses many layers of varnish, often stained so they look very old) with simple, strong designs in such a way that the paintings are not only striking and strong, but beautiful.

This compositional strength is apparent in his six very simple and handsome monotypes on handmade paper.

The blue mountains of Hall's "Bigelow" paintings reverentially salute Hartley's plaintive substance and bold solidity.

"Greenville II" is a large diptych subtly similar to its namesake. Dark and overwhelming, I have never seen a more powerfully ambitious painting by a Maine artist.

Deep under the myriad layers of glazed paint and varnish are what look like vinyl letters spelling "ANOTHER" and "CLEARCUT." Grim and even brutal, Hall's voice gurgles up from the abyss not as a knell but as a guttural call to arms.

This exhilarating show makes the case that Tom Hall is one of Maine's best artists. It is the stuff of greatness.

Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:

dankany@gmail.com

 

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Tom Hall’s “Hessian Hill”

click image to enlarge

Hall’s “West of Spirit”

 


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

More PPH Blogs