While I was an intern at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art during my senior year at Willamette, I spent a great deal of time working with the museum’s permanent collection.
The consideration the museum has for Pacific Northwest artists – particularly those underrepresented in major Northwest museums – is evident by their many significant regional acquisitions. Many of my favorite works in the museum are part of their Northwest collection, and one I am especially fond of is Carl Hall’s oil painting, Wailing Wall, of 1954.
Carl Hall is a Northwest landscapist and my favorite of the artists represented in the HFMA’s Northwest collection.
Of all his works that the museum owns, Wailing Wall stands out to me because of its stark, symbolic connotations and my own love of the Oregon Coast. In this depiction of the Oregon Coast, Carl Hall displays sensitivity to the atmosphere of the setting – particularly the duality of grey, muted moodiness, and monumental splendor that characterizes the coastal environment.
A dead bird in the foreground melts into a mosaic of shadow and light, rigidity and fluidity, organicity and inorganicity that subsume the physical elements of the artwork; the bird, beach, seawall, and beyond that, the glassy ocean and sky of soft, columnal clouds.
To me, the painting appears fundamentally unified by contrast within its respective elements, and through that quality, is a very genuine symbolic interpretation of the Oregon Coast.
— Patrick Newhall, Fall 2013