Lee Hall - Captiva and Rome Wall Series
I did the Rome Wall collages while at the American Academy in Rome. For me, Rome is the most beautiful city in the world, opposite in noise and hustle from the serenity of Civitella, but equally alive with imagery and mystery. In Rome, the present, even intimations of the future, and the many layers of the past live in harmony. The walls are enchanting and sometimes heartbreaking. There are no emotionally neutral surfaces in Rome. A wall pocked by bullets from a WWII slaughter, a Medieval fresco fragment in an out of the way church, ancient graffiti in the Forum, the cracks and blisters and peeling plaster and paint on doors, the worn walls of houses, buildings, archaeological remains, aqueducts, churches inside and out--I accept with deepest gratitude all of the visual gifts Rome offers. Being thankful, I want to praise Rome’s walls. I want never to let them fade in my imagination. I make collages. T he Captiva collages were not made while there, but were found in tranquil recollection in my studio after a visit to Captiva to escape briefly the Massachusetts winter and to see birds. I found a flat world, Captiva, where even the light seems to appear in flat vertical sheets, one after another, all the way to the horizon; the landscape unfolds in flatness that often obscures scale. Roaming mentally the planes, vegetation, shifting light and shadows of Captiva, I wanted to praise that unfamiliar visual world. When I returned to my studio, I sorted through the images stored in imagination. I wanted to understand as fully as possible what I had seen. I wanted to write thank-you collages. I use several kinds of paper and fabric which I paint (not find); I tear or cut with a razor blade; I use a flexible polymer glue. I try to work so that I’m not burdened with false notions of freedom. That is, I try to find constraints in nature, not freedom, and work toward intensification, clarification, perhaps simplification of reality, which, of course, is abstract.
Cover: CAPTIVA-NIGHT-SHADOWS 2015 Mixed Media Collage on Canvasboard 8 x 10 inches
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