Perry Hall’s adaptation of the decalcomania technique utilizes the natural, organizational principles of paint. Associated with the German-born Surrealist Max Ernst, decalcomania involves applying paint to a surface and then placing a piece of glass over it; the paint is pressurized and organizes into complex networks of raised interlocking lines and ridges, creating an index of the forces imposed by the artist. Ernst looked at the indices of this process and from them generated anthropomorphized images that he considered to be a projection of his unconscious. Hall, however, leaves the results of the process intact without any retouching.

The varied taxonomy of his decalcomania works is dependent on forces such as mass, velocity, duration, and the pressure applied to the materials in play. It is this physical action exerted by the artist as well as chance processes already found in nature that generates the surface, scale, degree of subtlety, and composition of the final piece. Such intensive experimentation is a process of trial and error that demands the artist know the capacity of his materials and his own body, while at the same time trusting their mutual ability to react to one another fluidly. Hall believes that in this process he is, in a sense, “growing” a painting, working with matter that has its own will with which he collaborates, evidence of the interaction between the artist’s decision making and the logic of the material. Although Pollock saw himself and, by extension, his unconscious as the author of his works, Hall also ascribes co-authorship to his material.

From Pollock’s process came the painted skeins and loops we think of as his inimitable signature. For Hall, the decalcomania process is a collusive one in which the agency of the artist and that of his materials come together to make visible the overlay between the realms of nature, human expression and of matter itself.

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63 Paintings / 78 images / 159 pages / 24 megs

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