New Orleans artist Shawn Hall shows her newest work at Cole Pratt Gallery this May in a show entitled “A State of Natural Abstraction.” Hall, who recently won a 2017 grant from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, works abstractly with gestural marks that recall biological phenomena.
In her first show at Cole Pratt Gallery, Shawn Hall has challenged herself with large, multi-paneled paintings on clay board. The pristine white clay board gives the artist a luminous, smooth surface to swirl, drip, and draw on. Working with both acrylic and oil paint, Hall works spontaneously, letting form and design emerge organically. In almost every work, her gestural marks somehow morph into natural, or biological shapes. Particles, clouds, pollen, berries, flowers, worms, coral, cells—this list can go on. All of these images emerge from Hall’s psyche because as she says, “within and without us is teaming with biological drama that we are just a part of.”
Hall often refers to “particle space” when she talks about her work. Dots and circles are common in her compositions, especially in works like Pink Head in the Cumulus or Exultation. The “particles” or circles represent molecules we cannot see in nature. That we are engulfed in particles, microorganisms, and energy is a main theme in Hall’s work. An environmentalist and activist in her own right, Hall is outspoken about our responsibility and awareness of man’s impact on ecosystems. Recently, her efforts to raise awareness about monarch butterfly populations was published in The Lens (“Oops! Effort to Save Monarch Butterflies Hastens Their Possible Extinction,” The Lens, January 22, 2016, thelensnola.org).
Shawn Hall has been a resident of New Orleans for over 20 years. A native of Ann Arbor, MI, she holds an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Mount Royal School, where she was a Patricia Harris Fellow, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and an AS in Science from Delta College in MI. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Ogden Museum and Linklaters Corporate collection in NYC, and numerous private collections in the USA and Europe.