In these gloriously realistic paintings, D.J. Hall presents the sun-saturated world of Southern California women. Prior to painting, Hall photographs her subjects in a variety of settings, ranging from afternoon desert scenes to evening leisure poolside cocktails. With brilliant coloration and an extraordinary sensitivity to detail, the finished compositions are drawn from various real and imagined sources. These “precious moments,” as the artist has described them, investigate how time and memory can instantly and viscerally project us back to someone or somewhere we once knew.
Over the course of her 30-year career, Hall’s subject matter would seem remarkably consistent. While the manifest brilliance of her technique has remained constant, however, a subtle shift in the artists’ perspective has emerged in the paintings of the last few years. The earlier work presented a critical commentary on aging, beauty and appearance. Now the attention is focused on the deliberate staging of the location and models. A behind the scene, film-like quality, has emerged as Hall finds herself performing as a director within the compositions.
In addition, the exhibition includes a series of desert night paintings, pencil and oil works featuring nighttime pool and landscape scenes. A number of pieces are composed of multiple, sequential images that form a visual narrative reading like an autobiography. Portraying the passage of time in her work is an ongoing interest. “I like to think that my pieces are a visual diary of my journey towards maturity and self-acceptance,” says Hall. “I feel an urgency to express the precious nature of moments and time.”
D.J. Hall was born in Santa Ana, California. A third-generation Californian, she brings a unique perspective to her portrayals of California life. After earning her BFA from USC in 1973, she has devoted herself to painting full-time ever since. Her work is in numerous public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has exhibited in group shows around the world, and has held solo shows in New York and Los Angeles almost every year since graduation from USC. Currently, she teaches Life Drawing at Los Angeles’s Otis College of Art and Design.