|Title||Upon Shoulders||Posted In||Painting, Exhibition||Duration||07 July 2017 to 07 July 2017|
|Venue||Robert Lange Studios||Opening Hours||17:00 - 20:00||Visit Website||robertlangestudios.com|
Adam Hall happened upon landscapes. When tornados struck Tennessee, in 2016, Hall, along with a number of his friends, took it upon themselves to clear trees from an area in Gallatin. Eventually, they found themselves on the property of David Wright, an artist himself. Unhappy with the process and prospects of the portraits he was painting at the time, Hall was then contemplating a career in recording engineering, rather than pursuing his painting aspirations further. Explaining his dilemma to Wright, the artist suggested that he try his hand at landscapes. This was the beginning of an artistic career that has been proven to come naturally to Hall, who has since exhibited his work many times, and has found success with his powerful landscapes.
Landscapes present many challenges, in that they aspire to turn the universal into something personal. For all its locality, its variations from one place to another, nature is fairly common an experience. Another sea, another field, another moody sky –these are the very themes that can invite the greatest scrutiny, exactly because theirs is an experience trivialized. But the wheel was been invented long ago, too, and cars continue to be made and be distinct. Art, however, is not meant to be as practical. It is not meant to absolve commonality in functionality. The problem is compounded by a very simple question: Even if were to be functionally common, what could art’s function be? There is no answer, and the absence of an answer is much like working with landscapes. Any function of art would have to be environmental; it would have to be about imagining a single point in the midst of everything and then consciously occupying that point in relation to its surroundings.
Hall sets out to do just that, and the result is commendable. Depicting tense scenes from a safe distance, his work carries with it the productive gap between engagement and comfort. There is no danger in his waves, fires, or the emptiness of his vast lands. There is tension, to be sure, but the artist is greatly removed from it. He stands back and narrates. In growing detail, he reveals the elements that fascinate him. While they are given voice and volume, their environment, their context, is one of silence. Using palette knives, but increasingly relying on the intricacies for which brushes allow, Hall fills his paintings with strength, and contains it in a way that safeguards his own position as an observer.
Upon shoulders, Hall’s upcoming exhibit, is also an exploration of the observer’s position, a play on Newton’s quote about standing on the shoulders of giants, but also a play on children’s gaze as they stand on their parents’ shoulders, a reflection of Hall’s parenthood. An elevation like the one in either interpretation allows for greater visibility of the horizon. As Hall decidedly remains an observer, such visibility allows ever more of his outward gaze to fill his canvas. It’s still another sea, another field, another sky. But it is as much of it as possible.