stories

Photography, Mixed Media

Vignette: Melissa Hall


“Integrating my photography with encaustic processes blurs the line between reality and narrative.” — Melissa Hall


"Look Outward" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017), $820 |  BUY NOW

"Look Outward" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017), $820 | BUY NOW

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.”

"The Weight" by Melissa Hall, 24x48in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $940 |  BUY NOW

"The Weight" by Melissa Hall, 24x48in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $940 | BUY NOW

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)
Website: http://www.melissathall.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melissathallstudios/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/melissathall/

"Endure" by Melissa Hall, 21x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 |    BUY NOW

"Endure" by Melissa Hall, 21x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 | BUY NOW

"On Display" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 |  BUY NOW

"On Display" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 | BUY NOW

"Hurry Up and Wait" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 |  BUY NOW

"Hurry Up and Wait" by Melissa Hall, 24x36in, photography, encaustic, oil paint (2017) $820 | BUY NOW

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

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Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Painting, Photography, Drawing

Q&A: Jennifer Laura Palmer


“Sometimes it is a little better to travel than to arrive.”  Robert Pirsig


Location and maps are a crucial part of painter Jennifer Palmer’s work. “The first maps I collected were from my childhood and they were used on family trips. I loved that they were used on our trips and I could see my Dad’s handwritten notes and the highlighted route for each adventure. These memories have become even more precious since my Mother’s passing from cancer this past year.” Palmer is currently working on a new series involving plein air artworks created during road trips throughout Kentucky in a 1951 Chevy Pickup: http://palmertravelingartist.tumblr.com/

"Paintings of Maine (    In Progress)" by Jennifer Palmer, mixed media on poplar (2016)

"Paintings of Maine (In Progress)" by Jennifer Palmer, mixed media on poplar (2016)

1951 Chevy - Barbara Jane (Name after my Mother)

1951 Chevy - Barbara Jane (Name after my Mother)

Are you still touring Kentucky in your 1951 Chevy pick-up?

I currently am and the project is still in the beginning stages. I have spent the summer working on organizing my trip and scouting out locations to complete my artwork.  This has allowed me the necessary time to come up with a more cohesive plan that has clear objectives and goals to make this a successful project. After my trip to Maine this summer I realized I wanted to challenge myself to something much larger than I had originally intended and to push myself creatively to use materials and process that I haven’t used before. This has slowed down the project, however, it has increased the drive to have a series that goes beyond what I had originally envisioned. 

How many different places have you been?

Only a handful of places at this point and mostly I have been cruising routes and making notes on good places to stop and make some art. I feel I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the places to explore in this beautiful state. I have toured a lot of backroads in Kentucky cruising and I started to realize that I need to also include more urban areas on my travels. 

"On site Traveling Drawing (Phippsburg, Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in,     ink on paper (2016)

"On site Traveling Drawing (Phippsburg, Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

What music do you listen to on the road?

I tend to just keep the windows down and listen to my surroundings and mostly the sound of the truck’s engine. 

Do you listen to music while you paint?

I do and tend to listen to the same music over and over until I finish a series.  You would most likely find Shovels and Rope and Roy Orbison in rotation in the studio.

What expectations did you have for the journey?

To stumble upon beauty in every place I visit. 

Tell us something about the people you have met?

I have found that everyone enjoys sharing a story if you are willing to slow down and ask some questions and be sincere in wanting to hear what they have to say. The people I have encountered are the greatest resources on learning more about the areas I am visiting. They know the area and give out the best suggestions for places to see and also to eat. I have experienced that people always love sharing stories about their animals and that is a great way to start a conversation. 

Also, I would like to add since I am still in the planning stages I would love to hear from people in Kentucky on places to go and more importantly why do they think I should visit there and document the space.

"Olsen House (Cushing Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Olsen House (Cushing Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

What's your favorite place to visit?

I will have to say Maine. I spent two weeks there this summer on an art road trip and I fell hard for the state. The landscape, the history, the people and the air were so inspiring.  What made the trip memorable was visiting the Farnsworth Museum and seeing Andrew Wyeth’s work in person. It literally brought tears to my eyes.  I was then able to make the journey to the Olsen House and spend time photographing the house and grounds.  I have never felt such a connection with a place.  

Honestly, this trip to Maine got me a little side tracked on the Traveling Artist Project here in Kentucky with the Chevy, however, it stirred a passion and desire to make it a more impactful series by slowing down and really taking time to plan out the project so I can create a wide range of pieces in various mediums. Kentucky holds the same charm and beauty and I want to explore the forgotten spaces to see the hidden gems myself and then be able to share these finds with an audience in a thoughtful manner.

"Olsen House (Hidden Stories)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Olsen House (Hidden Stories)" by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

So far, what is the longest you spent in any one location?

I crave the chance to be nomadic however, my heart always belongs to one place and that is wherever my horses are located. That is what brought me to Kentucky 10 years ago and what keeps me appreciating this amazing state is all the open land that is still available here. So my journeys tend to be short in nature, however, the list is extensive on places I want to visit, even if it is only short term. 

"Maine Summer" by Jennifer Palmer, 16x22.5in, mixed media on paper (2016), $300 |  BUY NOW

"Maine Summer" by Jennifer Palmer, 16x22.5in, mixed media on paper (2016), $300 | BUY NOW

What's the most challenging part when starting on a piece of work?

To not worry about what the outcome will be and just create and be in the moment.

How long do you usually spend on a specific piece of art?

It varies and can be a few hours to months. Recently, I have been going over work I had in storage for a few years and remaking it into a new series. I strongly believe in including an element of history in my work and I am enjoying making something new out of pieces that I never felt were quite finished.  It is nice to see new life given to them and also to go back and relive the time period of when I was creating them. 

"Travel Drawing Series (Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

"Travel Drawing Series (Maine)" by Jennifer Palmer, 9x12in, ink on paper (2016)

Has your style changed or evolved over the years? If so what do you think influenced this?

It has and it goes through cycles. Location and time of year influences it, also the events going on in my life. The most significant change came with the passing of my Mother from pancreatic cancer. She was the inspiration in starting to live my life to the fullest and to finally get my dream truck, and then for this journey to gather stories. I realized how significant stories and personal histories are after you lose someone and they take the stories with them. If you don’t take the time to gather and archive them you will end up losing them forever. And now my work is more about searching out those feelings and memories and I am seeing a shift of including more figurative elements into my work as a way of processing these shifts in life.

If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and what would you ask them?

Wendell Berry and I would love to ask him to show me his favorite location in
Kentucky and learn more about why he chose that spot. 

Name: Jennifer Palmer
Hometown: Simpsonville, Kentucky
Age: 35
Education: MFA in painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design; BA in Art and Political Science, Cedar Crest College (Allentown, Pennsylvania)
Website: http://jenniferpalmer.tumblr.com

"Summer Days (Finchville, KY) by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Summer Days (Finchville, KY) by Jennifer Palmer, photograph (2016)

"Maine Traveling Sketchbook" by Jennifer Palmer, ink on paper (2016)

"Maine Traveling Sketchbook" by Jennifer Palmer, ink on paper (2016)

Are you interested in being on Artebella? Click here to learn more.

Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2016 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.

Please contact    josh@louisvillevisualart.org    for further information on advertising through Artebella.

Please contact josh@louisvillevisualart.org for further information on advertising through Artebella.