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Rita Hall Open Studio (SALA 2013)

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by Julia Wakefield (subscribe)
I'm passionate about art, poetry, the English language and all things maritime, and I also love drawing: https://touchpaperdrawingtips.wordpress.com/ Join the Fight for the Reef! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Postcards-for-the-Reef/997018917032291
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Meet a distinguished artist with thought-provoking ideas
Still battling the pouring rain, I trekked out to Rita Hall's open studio last Friday, and was rewarded with the sight of a warm pot belly stove and a wealth of brilliant artwork.

Rita Hall, SALA, Adelaide Hills, Art, Handmade Prints, Paintings, Open Studio
Rita in her studio

Rita is a prolific worker, and she never fails to amaze me with her constant turnover of new ideas. She works on each new project with demonic energy and passion until she is satisfied that she has explored it from every angle and wrung the essence of meaning from it. Some of her work might seem confronting over the last few years she has produced a series of exquisite paintings on the theme of dead birds, encountered in the vaults of the SA Museum. But when you talk to her, you realise that she loves her work, and sees beauty in everything, even death.

Rita Hall, SALA, Adelaide Hills, Art, Handmade Prints, Paintings, Open Studio
Rita has drawers full of work that you can browse through

Rita has just returned to the hills after living for two years in Goolwa. She thought at first that a sea change would be a positive move, but she told me that it actually forced her to take a long hard look at herself, and she realised that living near the sea was not the answer she was looking for. She found herself surrounded by people who had retired from hard work, and knew that this situation was not what she herself wanted to be in. She used the time to come to terms with this malaise by producing an entirely new body of work, which was exhibited recently at the Adelaide College of the Arts Gallery in Light Square.

Her latest work is as thought-provoking as ever, but it can't be called depressing, even though it's largely about the end of life. While she was living in Goolwa, Rita made a large number of portraits of elderly people, and transformed them by the medium of monoprinting into timeless faces that all have essentially human stories to tell. Each face is accompanied by a short text, composed by Bill 'Swampy' Marsh, that somehow both lightens the mood and adds to the poignancy. These faces could be as old as humankind itself, yet their captions are the kind of comments that are overheard in modern nursing homes, made by our grandparents or by ourselves in years to come.

Rita Hall, SALA, monoprints, Adelaide Hills, Art, Handmade Prints, Paintings, Open Studio
some of Rita's striking portraits

Rita's Open Studio is sadly now finished, but she is talking of opening to the public on a regular basis, perhaps once a month. If she decides to do this, I'll make sure Weekend Notes gets to hear about it, as she is a very inspiring person to talk to, and one of South Australia's artistic treasures.
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Why? Visit one of South Australia's Living Artistic Treasures
When: By appointment
Phone: 8339 6331
Where: 7 Kain Avenue, Aldgate 5154
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Those bird paintings are fascinating. I wonder what the idea behind them was.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|12594) 2540 days ago
Interesting lady. I love open studio's where you can see where the artist works. In Melbourne, at the Abbotsford Convent, they have an open weekend I think once a year. The studios I visited were so beautiful and inspiring.
by Katy Holliday (score: 3|1133) 2539 days ago
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