I won’t lie winning £25,000 would be pretty amazing. As an artist you get used to dry spells where you work continuously for little or nothing. For the love of creating art. So you can imagine Jacqui Hallum’s delight when she heard she’d won the prestigious John Moores Painting Prize. Over the moon I expect!
Created whilst on a 3-month Fellowship at Liverpool School of Art & Design this year, Hallum’s new display of work feels like stage sets with full-scale scenic paintings. Paint elevations, different viewpoints, equally one piece looks just as good from the back as it does at the front. Her drapes are stained and dyed swathes of cotton and paper with ink thereby staining through the material itself.
More accurately stated as a “material record of actions” these temporary states are multi-dimensional. Feeling like a surrendering of time and place the artist has created illusions of an environment similar to stepping into an age-old troupe l’oeil painting. A meeting for figures and abstractions, like performers in a stage set.
There is a distinct fondness of stained glass, utilising the metaphor of windows looking into the soul – Hallum’s soul seers into painterly architecture. Imagery is sourced from medieval woodcuts and local Cathedral leaded glass windows. Hallum’s recent sketchbooks show her love of the altar in the Anglican Cathedral archives and inspiration from large tapestries at Lady Lever Art Gallery.
Showing the possibilities of the painted object Hallum arranges her draped paintings to reveal and conceal by pinning back segments. She folds and drapes into place loosely defined imagery, not directly representational of anything but depicting elements of Tarot’s latin origins, divination and the occult (aka astronomy, alchemy, magic) and Spiritualism – New Age ‘Mind, body, spirit’.
With so many possibilities in painting, material and technique Jacqui Hallum uses her own personal artistic prowess to follow a path specific to her.
In creating a multi-dimensional canvas the artist’s subject matters become hugely symbolic gestures in painterly form. The large draped swathes of fabric soften the usual hard edges of canvas in line with her Spiritual connections. Combining the New Age with religious inspiration unveils the dramatic intent in her work that will entertain visitors seeing the solo show. A conversation between the seen and the unseen; the conscious and the unconscious.
‘The View from the Top of a Pyramid’
On until 27 April 2020
Walker Art Gallery
William Brown Street