Gallery > UNKNOWN WOMEN

Jonna
Oil on Linen
40 x 35 cm
2014
Emma
Oil on Linen
36 x 41 cm
2010
Nest I
Oil on Linen
65 x 60cm
2015
Nest II
Oil on Linen
65 x 60cm
2015
Chevelure Series
Oil on Linen
70 x 45 cm
2010
Front I
Oil on Linen
65 x 60cm
2015
Front II
Oil on Linen
65 x 60cm
2015
Knot
Oil on Linen
77 x 77 cm
2015
4 WOMEN SERIES
Oil on Linen
41 x 41 cm
2010
Dressing Room
Oil on Linen
90 x 80 cm
2015
Four Puppets
Oil on Panel
10 x 10 cm
2010

'We find ourselves irresistibly drawn to Halls' Unknown Women, the identities of the artist's subjects, as the title suggests, forever eluding us, perpetually refusing our gaze. We cannot help but wish to turn the women round to see their faces, to lift the plate or unpin the paper which covers them, and yet they evade our curiosity, offering to disclose only a glimpse.

Just as the unidentified subject of Baudelaire's poem La Chevelure, a hymn to a beautiful head of hair, inspires the lover to 'sow rubies, pearls and sapphires' into the 'ebony sea' of her 'strong tresses', Halls, in her Chevelure series, adorns her women with clues as to their identity, or of what they may be in the process of passing through.

A suggestion of metamorphosis is made all the more explicit in Nest I & II in which the hair envelopes each female's head as if to form a cocoon. The vivid beauty of the garments, their fabric alive with butterflies and birds contrasts with the obscured faces of these enigmatic women.

Uncanny despite their apparent simplicity, the protagonists seem poised in a state of liminality. Enticing yet unsettling, charged with possibility, Halls' Unknown Women leave us longing.

“The quiet mystery of a head which will never turn, intimate yet remote, the face forever unseen, is a subject I have found myself drawn to investigate repeatedly.
My figures may seem frozen in a place of stasis and reflection, perhaps in the eye of the storm, attempting to reconfigure themselves held on the cusp of transformation or poised before their next performance, always on the verge of some private evolution” '.

Unknown Women exhibition text 2015