“Integrating my photography with encaustic processes blurs the line between reality and narrative.” — Melissa Hall
Melissa Hall is “drawn to locations and objects that are patinaed, worn, and wear their age like a badge on their surface, displaying their history. These decaying spaces spark my imagination and allow me to tell stories of the lives that could have been lived between the walls.”
We see female figures that are literally imprisoned within physical circumstances: a mermaid struggles inside of a ticket booth aquarium. The cubical is ludicrously small for her, but even if it were more spacious, it would remain confining. And another woman occupies an attic space, her body disappearing into a window, and even if we cannot see her face, we might, without too much difficulty, imagine a look of longing in her face. In any event she seems ready to depart; she clutches ropes tied to a brace of travel cases, her life further confined within even smaller spaces.
“My imagery evokes conceptual undercurrents from myths, twisted fairy tales, and simple aspects of everyday life. My work is built by combining photographs with translucent layers of encaustic medium, oil paint, and pastels. Integrating my photography with encaustic processes blurs the line between reality and narrative.”
In the work we see here, that layered effect is perhaps most obvious in “Stand,” an image in which the woman is not constrained by space. She stares out at a horizon filled with the ocean, typically a symbol of boundless freedom. Yet how is it that even in this instance, this figure also feels somehow limited? Hall plays with our expectations, crafting a tension and speaking to troubling issues of identity.
Hall has a solo show, Aggressively Fragile, running June 13 – July 21, 2017 at the MS Rezny Gallery in Lexington, KY. There will be a Coffee & Artist Demo on July 8th, 11am-1pm, and an Artist’s Closing Reception July 21st, 5-8 pm, in conjunction with the LexArts Gallery Hop.
Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky
Education: BS Computer Science & Mathematics
Gallery Representation: MS Rezny (Lexington)
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.