Coco Chanel once said, “I consider lace to be one of the prettiest imitations ever made of the fantasy of nature; lace always evokes for me those incomparable designs which the branches and leaves of trees embroider across the sky..”
I came upon Susan Hall’s paintings as we ascended the stairs up to Butters Gallery in Portland, our last gallery stop of a long day spent in that art mecca. Through the glass doors, I spied beautiful tone-on-tone figures, peaceful in their exquisite solitude.
As they drew me in, I realized that I was viewing these figures through a veil, not one over my own eyes but through the intricate patterns in which Chicago artist Susan Hall ensconces each of her subjects.
Veils may have both negative and positive connotations– The view through the veil of a bride is lovely and full of hope, while the view through the veil of a burqa may be considered by some as the prospect of a prisoner, someone not allowed to view the world through naked eyes.
Hall’s work also has a bit of a voyeuristic quality, as if we were gazing through lace covered windows, intruding upon a private moment or catching a glimpse of a ghostly deer’s visit before he disappears into the dark night.
We see him but does he see us through our gossamer covering? Or perhaps he is merely an apparition of our imagination? Either way, I am enthralled.
Please visit Susan Hall’s website to see more of her breathtaking work. If you are in the Northwest, a visit to Butters Gallery to see her work in person will be a delight for your eyes, pinky promise.