ben hall (1935 -2017)
Born in central NSW town of Dubbo in 1935, Hall wasan avid painter of this landscape from the age of 12. His creative curiosity led him to study with Lloyd Rees whilst undertaking an architecture degree at Sydney University, and then musical instrument making – developing a reputation as a master woodworker for his exquisitely crafted Baroque musical instruments.
For more than 50 years Hall painted and made sculptures, exhibiting frequently in that time to an appreciative audience. Early group exhibitions were held at Terry Clune, Barry Stern and Sydney University and Hall was the recipient of the Royal Aeronautical Society Art Prize while teaching architecture at Sydney University.
With many solo exhibitions to his credit at galleries including Access, Brenda May, New England Regional Art Museum and the Orange Regional Gallery, his estate is represented in New South Wales by Janet Clayton Gallery.
Hall’s work is featured in many corporate and private collections in Australia and internationally.
Ben moves, as it appears, effortlessly from a vision of the minute and apparently insignificant to the broad and universal themes of belonging and country.
His architectural vision provides the work with a refined sensibility where light, surface and pigment combine to allow the viewer to project from the infinite to the infinitesimal. The attention to detail, the strong and determined structure, and the poetic integrity of materials speaks of his making of instruments and jewellery.
These works are encoded with a structure of individual marks that play off the surface structures of the found materials of iron and steel. The parring back of surface and the layering of pigment is suggestive of the life force of the earth, the watercourses, windswept plains, and eroded valleys. The found object components at once merge and seek to expose another reality.
Miranda Lowry, 2009