Gallery > UNKNOWN WOMEN

Dressing Room
Oil on Linen
90 x 80 cm
2015
Nest I
Oil on Linen
65 x 60cm
2015
Nest II
Oil on Linen
65 x 60cm
2015
Jonna
Oil on Linen
2014
Knot
Oil on Linen
77 x 77 cm
2015
Front I
Oil on Linen
65 x 60cm
2015
Front II
Oil on Linen
65 x 60cm
2015
Sleepwalking
Oil on Linen
122 x 122 cm
2010
Chevelure Series - second configuration
Oil on Linen
70 x 45 cm
2010
Chevelure Series
Oil on Linen
70 x 45 cm
2010
In The Trees
Oil on Linen
61 x 77 cm
2010
Cameo Women
Oil on Linen
31 x 25 cm
2015
12 Hysterical Women
Oil on Panel
92 x 122cm
2014
Keepsakes
Oil on Linen
82 x 77 cm
2010
Car
Oil on Linen
61 x 51 cm
2008
Tunnel
Oil on Linen
51 x 51 cm
2015

In Unknown Women, Roxana Halls' third solo exhibition for Hayhill Gallery, the identities of the artist's subjects, as the title suggests, forever elude us.

We find ourselves irresistibly drawn to Halls' Unknown Women, yet they perpetually refuse 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 Backs series, adorns her women with bewitching 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.

Totemic in their apparent simplicity, their protagonists seemingly poised in a state of liminality, these images engender a sense of the uncanny and are charged with possibility. Enticing yet at times perhaps troubling, Halls' Unknown Women leave us with our longing intact, insisting that the viewer will always be left in an exquisite state of unknowing.

“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, in the eye of the storm, attempting to reconfigure themselves & perhaps on the cusp of transformation, but they are always on the verge of some private evolution”.

Hayhill Gallery