Themes and Dreams, a retrospective of collage and assemblage illustration by New York-based artist Joan Hall, will be on view at the Westbeth Gallery from March 4-24, 2023. Self-curated with input from independent curator Lilly Wei, the exhibition will feature seven distinct bodies of work that explore modernist strategies of fragmentation and re-composition. Produced over a 50-year career, the 100 pieces in the exhibition will be exhibited together for the first time charting the depth and breadth of Hall’s varied interests and talent.
Since 1970, Joan Hall has been using collage and assemblage to explore different cultures, times and places. She creates imaginary spaces and newly arranged realities that have dreamlike qualities infused with humor and irony. Her assemblages tell stories by giving found objects new meanings resulting from unexpected juxtapositions and placements.
PARROQUIN DREAMS – Collages inspired by the magic and fantasy of the Parroquia, a grand neo-gothic church in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, known for its soaring pink spires and lofty ornate sanctuary.
MEXICO MI AMOR – Collages featuring various landmarks in Mexico.
THE PARIS PROJECT – Assemblages inspired by drawings of everyday objects by a young French art student found by Hall in a Paris flea market. After finding the six original drawings, Hall set out to find the actual objects in the drawings to combine them and related objects in assemblages. Hall made the additional drawings to expand the series.
ICONS – Found object assemblages that combine natural and man-made objects creating archetypal figures.
STRINGS ATTACHED – A play on traditional needlepoint with edgy subject matter made with embroidery hoops, thread and burlap printed with photographic images.
BOXED DREAMS – Surrealistic fantasies made with found objects in wooden boxes.
THE PARCEL PROJECT – Mixed media parcels ostensibly sent to Hall from all over the world. Each parcel has an image of a landmark from where it was sent.
JILL’S ROOM – A mixed media, interactive art piece composed of three boxes – Room 1, 2, and 3. The viewer looks through an opening in the box and sees a furnished room. Using mirrors, the room appears to change, creating illusion of infinite space. The viewer is reflected inside the room.
About Joan Hall
Born in Brooklyn in 1939, Joan Hall is a freelance collage artist and illustrator. As a child, her parents, both artists, enrolled her in Pratt Institute’s children’s school. Aspiring to be a dancer, Hall attended The Juilliard School from 1959 to 1960. Returning to her artistic roots, she went to The Institute de Allende, in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico from 1968-1969. Her work has appeared on the cover of Time magazine and in The New York Times and numerous other publications. Hall’s collages and assemblages have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide, including the Centre George Pompidou in Paris and the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. She was commissioned by the American Culture Center to lecture, exhibit and conduct workshops in France, India and Brazil. In 2001, she was awarded a Mexico/US State Department Cultural Grant to go to Mexico to train teachers and to teach recycling to children using found objects and scrap images from magazines. She has lectured internationally on Collage: Past and Present and most recently on Women and Collage at the National Arts Club in New York. In addition, she has written two books of poetry and was the recipient of the 2018 Miriam Chaiken Foundation award for poetry. Joan Hall has been a resident of Westbeth since 1971.
About Westbeth + Westbeth Gallery
Located at 55 Bethune Street in New York’s West Village, Westbeth Artist Housing was founded in 1970 in to provide affordable housing for artists and their families. Previous residents include Diane Arbus, Sam Shepard, Gil Evans and Mary Frank. The Westbeth Gallery is a nonprofit fine arts gallery located within Westbeth operated by the Westbeth Artists Residents Council, which is a volunteer organization elected by Westbeth residents. The 2900 square foot gallery exhibits the work of Westbeth resident artists and independently curated exhibitions. The Whitney Museum staff show, The Parsons School Fine Arts MFA exhibition and the Fellows of the New York Foundation of the Arts exhibition have been held in the gallery. The gallery hours are Wednesday-Sunday: 1-6 pm
Themes and Dreams, Joan Hall Retrospective will be on view from March 4 to March 24, 2023 at Westbeth Gallery. Opening Reception will be held on March 4th from 6-8pm. Westbeth Gallery is located at 55 Bethune Street, corner of Washington Street, NYC.