Simultaneously careful and intense, the works of Betsy Lohrer Hall contain subliminal messages, where both image, and meaning are derived from a systematic accumulation of simple actions taking place over a period of time. Whether this action is the placement of painted lines, the performance of specific actions or the mounting of collected objects, this repetitive and layered method of creating artwork permeates the entire body of work. Both light-hearted and serious, the works of Lohrer Hall reflect a meditative relationship to life where the commonplace is imbued with meaning and poetry finds its way through the spaces in between.
Marking Time: large-scale gouache paintings on paper
These paintings are visual studies of process, time and focus. In these subtle and elegant pieces, Lohrer Hall examines positive and negative space, and the simultaneity of flat surface and the implied sense of space imposed by layering of lines and shapes. While the images never intentionally reference terrestrial landscape, they are explorations of an inner terrain, developed through a systematic building up of layers, over time.
Photo Studies: Visual Note Taking
These photographs function as visual notes of the artist’s immediate surroundings in which she finds inspiration, wisdom and humor in occurrences and objects of the everyday. For instance, Lohrer Hall photographs small studio happenings like the spreading of a stain over time, the evaporation of water, or the decomposition of a leaf. These photographs are not necessarily intended to be seen as completed works of art but rather as a cue or a metaphor for a feeling.
City: large scale floor installation of collected plastic beach trash
This installation is composed of brightly colored plastic detritus that the artist found on the beach in Long Beach. Lohrer Hall says, it presents an uneasy dichotomy; the inviting colors and playfulness coexist with the weighty implications of the sheer volume of non-degradable, free-floating trash from the sea. The collected plastic objects range from pacifiers and toys, to half-full medicine bottles and syringes.
Home: Large-scale installation with cast off furniture, large scale drawings and collected dreams
This installation is composed of a suspended, webbed suggestion of a bed frame, free-hanging walls made of cast-off fragments from home construction or destruction, frames, and windows, table legs and drawers, and large scale suspended drawings on rice paper. Lohrer Hall has gathered dreams from a number of individuals and has written and rolled these dream fragments and tied them into the web that comprises Home. In this piece the artist intimates the complexities of home- the associations of comfort, joy, pain and longing. She also points out the fact that there is no way around the biological need for sleep, concluding that perhaps sleep is a crucial tether to our true selves and a window into another (rich) plane of consciousness.
Betsy Lohrer Hall will spend 5 hours tapping the names of God (from many different religions and languages) in Morse code, using eggshells as her instrument. This piece was born from my distress and frustration with our human tendency toward vitriolic discord…often in the name of a specific religious belief system, despite the fact that the practices themselves encourage love and peace.
Bedtime Stories: a telling of dreams
In the process of collecting dream stories for Home, Lohrer Hall was inspired to make a limited edition, screen-printed book. It contains poems she created by interweaving the dream fragments of others with her own dream imagery to make short meditative poems, reminiscent of haiku.
In Bedtime Stories, the artist will read some of the poetry from the book, as well as poems composed during the course of the exhibit inspired by dream stories collected from gallery visitors. This reading will take place over the course of an hour, within the Home installation, and will include reflected light and shadow play relating to the content of the dreams.