May 25-June 16
This story was featured in the May 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art May 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art May 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
Author Terry Tempest Williams once said, “A shadow is never created in darkness. It is born of light.” The same could be said of the work of Kim English and Lane Hall, two artists with an exceptional understanding of how to interpret light and shadow to illuminate their subject matter. From scenes of world travels to the high desert’s spare beauty, the art they present this month at Total Arts Gallery provides a feast for the eyes. The two-person show opens with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 25.
Known for his skilled use of chiaroscuro—the balance of light and dark in a painting—Kim English wanders the world in search of multicultural scenes to paint. He presents seven or eight new pieces in this show, with an emphasis on people and the way they live. Working alla prima in oils to keep his work fresh and spontaneous, he often uses strong contrasts to dramatic effect. “Immediacy is important—not only because it is often the nature of people, but, for me, it is the most instinctive way to paint,” he says.
Whether he’s painting a marketplace in France, a Sunday morning in Oaxaca, or a single figure winding her way down a narrow cobbled street, English’s keen eye and intuitive comprehension of color harmony allow him to create a “specific sense of place.” Each painting in this show captures a singular mood, an atmosphere, that carries the viewer into the experience.
Lane Hall has been known for his award-winning watercolors for decades. When he began experimenting with other media, he discovered the visual power of using black graphite on gessoed board with occasional watercolor or colored graphite enhancements. His 12 works in this show reveal an intensification of his unique style—sharper contrasts and bolder strokes. Evocative as a Zen master’s haiku, Hall’s imagery conveys the essence of an experience of nature as it subliminally links to the human condition. Each piece compels the viewer to linger.
The artist’s work requires a close reading of the landscape’s abstract shapes and harsh light. Its seemingly simple components at first may appear featureless, but the longer one gazes, the more is revealed—subtle variations in texture and color, the stark juxtaposition of jagged rock and rugged terrain against infinite sky. “Shadows are particularly fascinating and mysterious,” Hall says. “They contain an infinite range of values.”
Excitement about this exhibition is keen. Emily Wilde, assistant director of Total Arts Gallery, speaks with pride about the two artists: “Kim English’s work is a masterful display of light, spontaneity, composition, and color—all of which continues to set him apart in the art world. His ability to capture a moment’s core is unrivaled. Hall’s new style speaks to a multitude of tastes. It is traditional yet contemporary, realistic yet impressionistic, simple yet complex—blended together for a distinctive, compelling result.” —Rosemary Carstens
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