Florida School of the Arts presents sculptures by Linda Hall

Linda Hall - Self portrait

Self portrait

Linda Hall - Decorated Anxiety

Decorated Anxiety

Linda Hall - We Are What We Fear

We Are What We Fear

Florida School of the Arts presents "Becoming the Wild,” sculptures by Linda Hall. The exhibit opens with a reception on Thursday, October 26 at 5:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Hall is a mixed media artist from Tallahassee who often describes her work as soft sculpture that is comprised of repurposed textiles, paper mâché and found materials. According to Hall, re-birth and death happen simultaneously at every moment. “I explore this duality in this installation by juxtaposing the fecund aspect of fauna and the empty animal forms,” Hall said.

According to Hall’s artist statement, forms like the bear and the ivory billed woodpecker are tangible envoys from the wild unknown. It is a connection to the wilderness that is remains on the planet and to the wild unknown within ourselves. An interrelation is created that speaks to the deep interconnectedness of life in the age of catastrophe in the natural world. The bear in the installation is an invitation to a sacrament not unlike ancient rituals where a human assumes the spirit of the animal by wearing its skin. The viewer is invited to contemplate wild space by theoretically entering the animal body and inhabiting its spirit, its power and its plight.

The evidence that these pieces are made by hand is important to the work. The animal forms are primarily made from quilts, tatting and dresses that have their own history. I like to think I give them a second life in sculptures that function as “containers for spirit.” The bear is made from scraps such as used clothing I wore in the studio, as well as items from antique stores. Materials like beads and paint serve as decoration and as a covering for scars and past history.

Hall’s exhibit also includes "Anxiety Masks,” a series of sculptures she started in April 2020. “The past several years been a time of dis-ease,” Hall said. “With the deadly and unpredictable nature of the pandemic, combined with the contentious state politics, and then addition of heartbreaking eruptions around race, this series of masks has been a way for me to deal with anxiety.”

By covering the entire face, the safeguards for the virus are met, but the masks provide protection from violence and discrimination. The sculptures theoretically disguise differences such as race and gender and make everyone equal. I make these as a blessing and a protest.

Hall holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work is in public and private collections around the world. Images of her two and three dimensional works have also been featured in numerous publications such as Oxford American, Raw Vision, New American Paintings and Five Point literary journal. She also creates public projects such as concerts, plays, processions and parades. Hall maintains a studio in the historic Smoky Hollow section of Tallahassee.

The exhibit can be viewed 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and during FloArts main stage performances through December 6.

Florida School of the Arts is located on the St. Johns River State College Palatka Campus and serves the entire state of Florida. FloArts is part of the academic and administrative structure of SJR State and awards associate degrees in acting, dance performance, musical theater, stage management, theater technology, graphic design/new media and studio art. For more information, call (386) 312-4300 or visit FloArts.