cloud with rainbow and text Stev'nn Hall Essay for Artist Monograph



Bittersweet Light



Canadian mixed media artist Stev’nn Hall studied filmmaking and worked as a film editor before beginning his current photo-based art practice. Is landscapes draw on his memories  some rough and scarred –  growing up gay in a small town along the St. Lawrence in rural Ontario. Fortunately, Hall knows the transformative power of creativity to a broken past into beautiful art. Starting with a lived experience, then photography, and finally a thoughtful metamorphosis of the original photo composites into a pure wonder world of his own making. He achieves quite a mesmerizing feat. Amazing work. 

painting of man writing with text Pull Quote

Hall’s landscapes seem transfixed by a lost and lonely beauty. Some of Hall’s images suggest earlier Masters – the billowing clouds of John Constable, Turner’s swooning seascapes, Monet’s dreamy water gardens. But Hall’s work wrestles with the fury of colour in a way that gives them a contemporary edge. Given the hard truths of his past, Hall isn’t into nostalgia or decoration. His landscapes can be pretty but also pretty rough and broken up. Both magical and menacing.

Barry Dumka 



Bittersweet Light

“I wandered lonely as a cloud”

– Williams Wordsworth, Daffodils, 1807


In his exhibition Sky Light, Toronto-based mixed media artist Stev’nn Hall takes the viewer on a photo fieldtrip to real places that remind him of his past but are now fictionalised by his creative imagination. Hall’s work blurs the borders between photography and painting. Through his process of staining, scratching and embellishing the images with rough brushstrokes and raw colour, Hall’s transformation of these scenes is beguiling. A new world seems to be blooming before our eyes. Hall’s mixed media panels appear spellbound but scarred – at once ravishing and ravaged. The fact that the series was conceived during Hall’s frequent trip back to his his rural Ontario hometown to care for his cancer-stricken parents marks the work with a beauteous heartache.  Life and love and loss are all tangled up here.



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