Page 6 - Sharon Hall: Meeting Points
P. 6

Charged Presence

             The first thing to say about Sharon Hall’s paintings is to note how they operate
             in a sympathetic space. Large paintings tend to radi ate outwards and dominate
             their surroundings. Small paintings, as most of Sharon Hall’s are–provided that
             they are sympath etically hung and given enough wall space–more often than
             not bring that space into play and activate it in what can feel like a low-key, vis -
             ual gravita tional field. This general effect is reinforced in many of the recent
             paintings by the fact that  they are structured–with surfaces divided by clear
             vertical, horizontal and diagonal divisions–around the basic fact of the rectang -
             ularity of the canvas, which in turn relates to the much larger rectangle of the
             wall on which they are hung. To walk into a space in which these paintings are
             shown is to sense the charge of their presence. They may be discrete and self-
             contained, but when exhibited these works operate in a space which extends
             outside themselves.

             Over the years the use of colour in Sharon Hall’s work has changed. The unify -
             ing sense of light emerging from sometimes dramatic contrasts of tone and
             colour in works from a few years ago has become modified–perhaps more
             defined, certainly more perva sive–as colours have become increasingly
             nuanced and glazes have been used to create wider and more subtle spatial
             effects. There are paintings in which muted, opaque colours butt against each
             other, their relationship sharpened by contrasting wedges of luminous pale -
             ness; and there are others in which the light emanates from beneath the paint
             and through layers of glazed colour to create indeterminate spaces. In both
             cases the atmos pheric quality of the colour offers a contrast and count erpoint
             to the incisive divisions of the canvas and the surface-emphasising way in which
             the paint is brushed. Tensile surfaces and translucent depths are brought into
             play, with edge-defining bands of stronger colour giving definition when
             needed. Hard-edged areas are infused with atmospheric colour to produce
             an overall effect of painterly orchestration. These recent paintings are the works
             of someone so experienced in her medium–so in control of her resources–
             that she can use it to create works which are not only compelling in themselves
             but which, when they are shown, can magnetise the spaces around them.

             Stuart Bradshaw   April 2024
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