Kenneth Hall

United States
1967
Statement

The painting is a place of construction and demolition; I sift through fragmented remains of imagery for things that I can salvage. Forms are pierced, fractured, inflated, spun, shaken, morphed, and spliced together as I rearrange them in this visual container. Source imagery comes from a multitude of places like nature video-documentaries, sketchbook doodles, and objects like toy dinosaurs, flowers, or cicada shells.

Abstraction is the means of layering and rearranging these quirky and mundane forms and spaces so that they become imbued with new meanings. I force photoreal elements together with decorative patterns and more gestural forms so that the contrast in perceptual “languages” implies a sort of violence. This is the violence that painting does best; paint-becomes-flesh and paint-becomes-vapor simultaneously.

Increasingly my work has been inhabited by figures from art history. Tiepolo, Rembrandt, and Correggio give me beautiful bodies that are being caught up either literally “into the sky” or figuratively “into rapture” as they swoon under the force of seduction. Paint becomes swirling, smeared, and pixilated as a metaphor for relational struggles; misunderstandings and unfulfilled desire between lovers. It also becomes a beautiful, raw, even sexy presence in its own right.

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