John Hall: a Painter of Modern life

Liz Wylie

The substance of painting is light. Andre Derain

When the French poet Charles Baudelaire wrote his essay “The Painter of Modern Life” in 1860, he was attempting to describe how art should become modern (as in the hands of his friend Edouard Manet, for example), and no longer look back to history, especially the ancient past. Instead of painting something eternal, he urged artists to depict a fleeting detail in order to convey a passing mood. At the same time, just as cafes were first popping up in Paris, Baudelaire also developed the notion of the flaneur, that enduring invention of the detached observer of urban life. With his seemingly mundane, everyday still-life subjects, Canadian artist John Hall could be seen as filling this double bill—being a detached observer, and painting fleeting light effects on quotidian subjects. He has become nationally known for his high realist paintings in which he has captured convincing highlights and reflections on everyday objects. The survey exhibition of John Hall’s work and this book that accompanies it present the opportunity for a careful look at his production to date, and a chance to consider the overall trajectory of the five decades of his painting practice. One specific thread to be followed in this text will be Hall’s relationship with photography over his long career as an artist. From initially avoiding it completely—seeing it as a cop-out or cheating—Hall eventually turned to the camera as a tool or aid. Much later he embraced digital photography and Adobe PhotoshopTM and gained a whole new way of working with his subjects.

In terms of those subjects, Hall has focused exclusively on still life, which has likely been a decision at least partly based on pragmatics. As American realist Daniel Sprick said when asked why he did not go in for living subjects that were in motion, “Painters who go in for verisimilitude need to start with things that cooperate.”1 Within the range of choices available to a painter of still life, Hall has run the gamut, and one could compile a long list of his depicted objects, ranging from other people’s treasured keepsakes to toys, household objects, masks, figurines, stones, candies, donuts and fruits and vegetables. However, looking at his work based on what he has painted will only get us so far in penetrating the full meaning of his art. This question of interpretation is not a simple one, and has become thornier as his work has evolved, as will later be discussed (or perhaps thrashed out would be more accurate). Hall himself has continually insisted that his subjects are not important to him; it is in fact the effects of light on objects that move him and inspire him.2 While working on this project, at first I took this statement about the unimportance of subjects for Hall at face value. But later I began to question it, particularly in the light of his work from the last decade.


Hall’s training in the mid 1960s at the Alberta College of Art and Design was a tradition- based one. He was aware of contemporary developments in art, however, and found them all tremendously exciting. It is jarring therefore to think of Hall and his peers actually drawing from plaster casts in their classes—something we generally associate with the academic tradition and instruction of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. But his teachers—two important ones for Hall were Marian Nicoll and Ron Spickett—were aware of developments in the contemporary art world, so he was not trained by backward- looking academicians.

The artist’s first paintings done after art school were untitled canvases, ten feet tall by six feet wide. Each was a visual montage of everyday objects. Hall was excited by the large scale, flat, bright colours and everyday subjects of Pop art, which was headline news at this time. Hall’s objects are depicted in one plane and with a flat, even paint handling. The artist realizes now that he was limited by living in a small population centre with no museums displaying great masterpieces, and he had not yet travelled to larger cities to see art. Years later he saw that his early paintings lacked surface definition because he had just not experienced very many original paintings, mostly only in reproduction in books and magazines, and in 35 mm slides, so he had no idea yet of the possibilities of this aspect of painting.

Concurrently with this group of paintings, Hall worked on small drawings done en plein air of grotty street scenes and urban locales, which Jack Kerouac surely would have called “beat”. But far from being “on the road”, Hall was in fact ensconced in a domestic context. He and fellow artist Joice Hanak (now Joice M Hall) had married in 1964, and their daughter Janine was born in 1965 (with their son Jarvis following in 1967). After the couple’s graduation from the ACA, they went as a family to Mexico where John Hall studied for the 1966 year at the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende. He continued to work on his street scene drawings and montage-like paintings while in Mexico. Living in San Miguel de Allende was a highly positive and stimulating experience for Hall, and he would be drawn back there in years to come. The entire flavour of life there and the Mexican people and their culture made a memorable impression.

Once back in Calgary, Hall began hauling big elements of trash and detritus into his studio so he could work on a large scale, and from life, but be indoors—a practical consideration particularly given Calgary’s severe and long winters. Hall’s paintings of these materials were enormous, in keeping with serious, ambitious art of the day. One specific inspiration at this time for the artist was the work of American artist Alfred Leslie, who also worked on a large scale, with a kind of street-tough, deadpan mood, and often in grisaille.

In 1969 Hall was hired for a year to teach art at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, so the family relocated there temporarily. This gave him a chance to visit nearby American art museums, and during reading week he was able to spend a week in New York, seeing museums and galleries. He was excited by various exhibitions and works on display by the American New Realist painters, and these artists formed a sort of meta-context for his own work in his mind. Artists such as Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Ralph Goings and Philip Pearlstein would be of abiding interest to him. Pop art of the 1960s had a huge role in granting permission to artists wishing to pursue representational painting, especially in the face of the dominant art forms/avenues also in their ascendancies at the same time—Minimalism and the various forms of conceptual art. The so-called New Realism of the 1970s was a bit like the Pop art that preceded it, but pushed mimesis to a further extreme. While in Ohio, Hall created a gigantic triptych measuring six metres long, which is now in the collection of the Nickle Galleries at the University of Calgary. This work is somewhat more elegant in composition and feeling than Garbage Triptych. The remnants and torn and bent hunks of cardboard and scraps of fabric are arranged in such a way that one thinks of a bird or angel, perhaps from Medieval art. The work is completed with pale, delicate painted trompe l’oeil cast shadows from these elements on the white ground of the canvas.


With a year spent in the USA under his belt, the beginning of the 1970s found Hall back in Calgary, where he began teaching, first at the Alberta College of Art that year, then at the University of Calgary. He was hired full time at the university the following year, in 1971, and remained there until 1998. He continued with his large “garbage” paintings, evidently achieving traction and mileage from his inert subjects that smacked of urban grit—a kind of social-realist commentary writ large. There was nothing traditional or academic about these grungy subjects; they were immediate, of the moment, and without historical referents. Hall’s giant flattened Pepsi can painting of 1970 is an excellent case in point. At two and a half metres in height it is heroic in scale, yet depicts a crushed pop can—a debased and mundane subject.

Another rather bizarre but impressive huge painting from this same time is Hall’s Doll, a triptych again, with two greatly enlarged plastic roses flanking a frontally arranged classic kewpie doll. In Doll, the colours have brightened and seem to glow, in part due to the hues inherent in the objects depicted, but generally Hall would pursue a more high-chroma palette from this point onward.

In the mid-1970s Hall made some transitional works, still keeping the integrity of the picture plane intact, so with only a shallow space portrayed, and with slight layering effect made from depicting looped strands of fabric and other materials, along with various objects. All of the paintings in this period were made by constructing maquettes using real materials, then painting by observing these small pieces. No intervening photography was utilized. A beautiful example of one of these works is Pilot, from 1976, in which the various materials and items seem to spill forward from the shallow space of the work, as though extending into the viewer’s own environment.

In the summer of 1976 the Halls made an extended visit to California, where no dedicated studio space was available. Adapting to this situation, Hall decided to create a series of tiny paintings (they are all

18 by 18 centimetres in size), each depicting a domestic subject. He set himself the project of making one complete painting in a single day. This untitled series portrayed each item—a plate of cookies, a folded pair of jeans, a Christmas tree light bulb, for instance—as sitting in a normal, receding space. This group of paintings began Hall’s predilection for the square format, which he has since used so often (though not exclusively), but did not bring an end to his painting of junk and debris.

In the following year (1977) the Halls made a trip to England, Holland, and France to tour museums, and in 1979, John Hall spent a year in New York, working at the Canada Council’s PS1 studio. It was here that he began to first use a camera as an aid and tool in his painting, beginning with shooting in black and white and making 20 by 25 centimetre-sized prints that he used as an additional visual resource when formulating the tonal ranges in the constructed maquettes he had begun using for his still life paintings. He found that if he kept the overall number of tonal ranges reduced it increased the feeling of drama in his paintings. The camera does this—pushes grey tones toward either black or white, rather than conveying a huge range of greys—whereas the human eye does not. He continued to work in a large scale and with discarded junk as his subjects. His skill at trompe l’oeil continued to grow. Hall’s work began to be included in various group exhibitions and in 1979 he was given a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Canada, which subsequently went on a national tour.


T he decade of the 1980s began for Hall living back in Calgary after his year in New York. In 1980 his work was taken on by the Wynick/ Tuck Gallery in Toronto, with whom he continued to work until 2009. It was in the 1980s his work came into its own and Hall began to hit his mature stride as an artist. His initial work in this decade was his Tourist series, painted from 1980 to 1982. The series comprises ten works, all 61 by 61 cm in size. Partly inspired by his own travels as a tourist, the paintings explored the phenomenon of souvenirs and mementoes standing in for our travel experiences. It seems that often our shopping for little geegaws to take home overrides or even supplants our actual experiencing of and engaging with a new place or big tourist attraction. Most of the Tourist paintings are set up a bit like a three- dimensional pop-up greeting card or children’s book, opening toward the viewer with various little items extending into the foreground, in some cases even further than that—by trompe-l’oeil means (as seen in Baroque painting), such as thrusting diagonals and painted cast shadows. These pieces seem to sparkle like jewels, as though they are spot-lit, and tempt us to reach out and touch the closest items, which seem to be extending from the picture plane into our own space.

To make the Tourist paintings, Hall assembled and set up the arrangements of stuff, photographed them, then dismantled them, and finally proceeded to paint from 20-by-25.4-centimetre-sized printed colour photographs. The paintings are extremely visually complex and dense. One might well imagine they had been painted by a different artist than the author of the 18-by-18 centimetre single-subject works of only four years earlier. Perhaps fuelled by all the art he had seen during his 1979 year in New York, Hall had upped his game.

The artist’s next series, begun when the Tourist works were part way along, was his 1981–1982 Toys Series, also consisting of ten paintings, each 61-by-61 centimetres in size, but this time of single subjects again. The toys chosen to be painted were mostly plastic in bright colours (understandable, given that this is how toys are often made) and each was placed on a sheet of coloured construction paper for photographing and then painting. Hall’s interest in the strong, gleaming highlights on the toys’ surfaces is highly evident. But long-time writer on his work, the Calgary-based critic Nancy Tousley, astutely pointed out that most of the ten toys chosen would be menacing or dangerous items were they the real adult versions and not childrens’ toys (hand gun, fighter plane, a snake, a pair of handcuffs, for example).3 Hall was not consciously intending any message by these works, and maybe these were just the toys that attracted him in the store. But perhaps his unconscious was at work and was striving to imbue this series with a darker subtext.

In 1984 Hall made a group of small paintings with subjects derived from a visit to Mexico. Mexican-themed works would become part of his production for several years, especially during the time he lived there for half of each year, from 1988 to 1999. The paintings from 1984 were square in format and usually depicted a single item, often a touristy find from the local street market. Later in 1984 he produced a few larger Mexican-themed works that had arrangements of multiple objects.

These paintings of grouped objects fed into Hall’s subsequent series of works begun in the mid 1980s that is still on-going, and for which he became widely known, his Still Life Portrait works. To make these paintings Hall invited friends and colleagues to select and lend him some of their personal possessions that they felt accurately represented themselves. The Still Life Portraits are all in a square format, and most in a 152 by 152 centimetre size. Hall would make arrangements of the ‘sitter’s’ stuff, light and photograph the still life, and then paint from the colour photographs. At some later point in the 1980s, he began shooting 35 mm slides and then projecting these onto the canvases to paint. Also, he began working with an air brush and would mask off some areas of the canvas with white paper while spraying, so that he could no longer see the painting’s entire surface for much of the time as he worked on it. This method took him quite a distance from his painted-from-life giant early canvases, and into a completely other realm of working with his subjects and with photography. The Still Life Portraits have terrific gusto and bravura. They are eye-poppingly colourful and bright, and are brimming with detail. In some cases Hall began inserting backgrounds that were colourful Kodak-esque skies, often inspired by magazine advertisements. These tend to give a nod to the increasing role that photography was having in his painting practice, and also nudge us to consider what we are looking at when viewing Hall’s realist works—what is the reality he is painting? With the so-called New Realism on the wane in terms of avant-garde art modes and trends, the Still Life Portraits could not be considered cutting edge, the way Hall’s earlier giant “garbage” paintings actually had been. But there was a wonderful context for Hall’s Still Life Portraits in the city of Calgary—that pervasive Calgary funk aesthetic that permeated so much of the visual arts in that city during this time period. Hall was not the odd-man-out in his own city, far from it, and he had the respect of his peers and a growing group of collectors as well.

In 1986 Hall had a three-month-long sojourn at Banff, Alberta, working in one of the Leighton Artists’ Colony studios at the Banff Centre. He completed three paintings there, having set up the still lifes and photographed them before leaving Calgary. One of these is a still life portrait of his wife—Indigo depicts Joice M Hall’s shoes and jewellery sitting on a shiny golden platform, set against a silhouetted mountain landscape with a mauve and blue sunset behind. It is an unusual manner for an artist to use to depict his wife, but by this time John Hall’s painting had become more and more unusual.

John Hall was fortunate in having lived in San Miguel, Mexico for half of each year for a decade in a time when the town was still relatively unspoiled. A separate essay in this publication by his fellow artist and colleague Alexandra Haeseker will discuss his Mexican paintings in depth, including a collaborative series of paintings they did together (alternating their spurts of painting on each canvas) called Pendulum/ Pendula, which has been exhibited widely. In 1988 he began a series of 61-by-61-centimetre-sized works that were of single Mexican objects, often ceramic or clay figurines, depicted in minimalist desert locations with lurid photographic sunsets behind. Perhaps these paintings formed a way “in” for Hall, to beginning to understand his new environment, which was a completely different culture from his own. In her important and insightful 1989 text on Hall, Nancy Tousley wrote that “[Realism] has become less a way of knowing the world than a way of thinking about the world.…”4 and these paintings could be seen as Hall’s visual thinking about his new life in Mexico.

The artist’s last painting of the 1980s was a Still Life Portrait of his artist colleague ManWoman (1938–2013), called Angel. A central ceramic Buddha that is flanked by a skull and two small pendant skeletons sits behind a quilted smiling heart with wings. Born Patrick Kemball, the artist ManWoman had been a student with Hall at the Alberta College of Art and they had remained in touch. He was a mystic and visionary from the Kootenays region of British Columbia and a fairly well known artist. It is now left to viewer speculation as to the significance of the objects he lent Hall to paint his Still Life Portrait.

Hall’s Still Life Portraits were featured in a solo touring show organized in 1989 by the Agnes Etherington Art Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston. This show and his regular exhibitions at the Wynick/ Tuck Gallery in Toronto helped in winning him a national reputation, reception, and audience. He had managed to carve out a niche for himself in the Canadian art world of the day—his work was intriguing and utterly unique.


John Hall’s paintings from the 1990s focused on Mexican objects (such as figurines or masks, or household subjects, such as dishes loaded into a dishwasher in the kitchen, which he titled Studio Series, Bedroom Series, and Kitchen Series, just to identify them. He also worked on the 12 Pendulum/Pendula works with Alexandra Haeseker. Another of his Mexican series was called La Disposicion del Mercado, which consisted of eleven various sized canvases all depicting masses of small objects of the street market variety, arranged amongst fruits and vegetables, some cut open as though ready for eating. The series title roughly translates into The Market Arrangement. These, along with others of Hall’s Mexican themed works and a selection of Still Life Portraits and other paintings, were included in a solo show called Traza de Evidencia [Trail of Evidence] held in Mexico City at the Museo de Arte Moderno in 1993.5 A strange but fascinating text was written on these paintings for the exhibition catalogue by Hall’s

Calgary artist colleague and neighbour in San Miguel, Derek Michael Besant.6 Besant states that he thinks Hall has been miscast as a realist—mis-categorized. I imagine Besant means by this that we need to look beyond Hall’s realism to penetrate and extract meaning from his work—that the realism per se is not necessarily the point. Later in his text Besant writes that Hall’s paintings are “… arenas for him to better place himself and his relationship to the objects portrayed. The painting, then, is the go-between, somewhere between image and meaning, word and definition, ego and conceptual language.”7 The notion of Hall’s paintings existing in a borderland territory that is betwixt and between, a kind of interstice between the artist and given, concrete notions is fascinating. It certainly prods a viewer to consider more deeply just what s/he is looking at when presented with one of Hall’s paintings.

Hall’s domestic-themed paintings from the mid 1990s were all 15 by 23 centimetres (sometimes flipped to 23 by 15) in size, and painted on hardboard. The works appear casual—just slices of daily life— small scenes of domestic objects or materials depicted just as they just happened to sit on the table, the shelf, or in the fridge. Each composition was closely cropped and viewed at close range. It was mid-way through painting this series of work that Hall began shooting with a digital camera and then manipulating the image in Photoshop before making a colour print to paint from. This aspect was to become increasingly important in his projects.

One may well wonder in the case of the Studio, Bedroom, and Kitchen series, whether the tidbits of domestic interiors are just banal subjects, or do they act as mute markers, pointing to something deeper, some grasp of the meaning that can lurk in our quotidian lives? Whatever the case I feel convinced it would be a mistake to take these works only at their face value. One may call to mind Virginia Woolf’s passage from To the Lighthouse: “What is the meaning of life? That was all—a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark.…”


John Hall’s leaving of both San Miguel and Calgary to relocate fulltime to Kelowna, British Columbia in 1999 must have been an upheaval, yet he seems to have landed on his feet and did not suffer any lapse in his painting production. His work underwent a change however, shifting from its former funkiness to an almost serene calm and almost spiritual mood. The previous usual density and crowded quality to his compositions seems to just have lifted off with Hall’s Six Stones Series, begun in 2001. To start with, the items depicted have become far fewer in number. The fourteen works in this series are all rectangular, 61 by 91 centimetres in size, and are zen-like in their calm, especially in contrast with Hall’s previous dense and crowded works. The first few Six Stones paintings depicted the little stones set on a white ground. There they sit, a gathering of very different small stones: one smooth and round and black, another long and rough and jagged, and so on. In later works, the stones are mixed in with studio implements, such as a roll of green masking tape, and in 2005 Hall created some Six Stones paintings in which the stones were set up with small carved stone figurines from Mexico set against a background of aluminum foil that provides a panoply of reflections.

Hall created his fifty-plus-work Quodlibet series from 2002 to 2008. Its title is intriguing. I believe Hall heard the word one day on CBC Radio. In English it can mean either a light-hearted medley of texts or tunes, or a point for theological or philosophical discussion. But it is also a Latin word that means “whatever”, and I am sure Hall was thinking of this meaning in connection with his choice of painting subjects: whatever—they are not important. With this shrug to his audience, he has depicted such items in his Quodlibet series as glass marbles, lollipops, peeled fruits, tape measures, licorice allsorts, coffee mugs, and tea cups. One features a stacked pile of CDs or DVDs, like a contemporary tower of Babel. All the paintings are either 25 by 38 centimetres, or square canvases at 30 by 30 centimetres.

After completing the Quodlibet series, Hall began paintings in a group he called Sweetness and Light—canvases depicting licorice allsorts, greatly enlarged doughnuts, and chocolates. These paintings have titles that sound as though they were lifted from a vintage Batman comic book: Jump, Orbit, Snap!, Boom!, Slam!, Krunch! and Boing!, for example. The works are tours-de-force of verisimilitude and have a great overall mood of joie-de-vivre.

The artist worked on a relatively small series of works called Candela between 2012 and 2014. The Candela works are all horizontal and in a variety of dimensions. Each of the twelve paintings in the series features a single stone sitting on a sheet of foil. The overall image has been manipulated with Photoshop so that it glows as though it is radioactive, with unearthly colours and highlights. Candela: Saguaro/Tango actually has a depiction of a lens flare painted into the work, a post-modern nod to his working method that has nothing to do with the human eye and all to do with Hall’s now complex relationship between photography and his painting. The word candela is a scientific term in English meaning the measurement of intensity of light. It is also a Latin word that means candle. So once again Hall is maintaining that his paintings are all about light, nothing more, nothing less. But archetypally (and in dream interpretation, for example) a single stone can mean the self. Reverting to the compositional vocabulary of the Quodlibet stone paintings, Hall’s last four Candela paintings contain a grouping of stones again.

Finally, Hall began his current ongoing series of works, entitled Flash, in 2014, and at the time of writing it comprises eight paintings, each of which depicts fruits or vegetables, often bagged up as though just brought home from the supermarket. In other works, such as Flash: Drift or Flash: Clip, the fruits and vegetables are out in the open, not bagged, and sit against fairly dark backgrounds, reminiscent of Dutch seventeenth- century still lifes or even the still life paintings of Edouard Manet, with their delicious grey backgrounds that act as effective foils against the colours of his fruits or flowers.

Since his coming to live in Kelowna in 1999, Hall’s post-Calgary, post- Mexico work has a mellower feeling than his earlier Calgary and Mexican paintings. Although Kelowna is only a day’s drive from Calgary, it is a world apart, and some would say the Okanagan Valley, where Kelowna is situated, is a world unto itself, a sort of arid Shangri La. Thrust into relative artistic isolation, Hall has responded by digging even more deeply into his studio practice. While some artists might have been tempted to wander out into the natural beauty of the Okanagan, Hall has no interest in painting landscape, and I have wondered at times if he has even looked out of his studio window! But the funky wackiness of, for example, his Still Life Portraits, is no longer at play in his paintings. His subjects seem a bit disembodied or floating, unmoored from any real context. Could this be termed the Kelowna effect?

Hall has not severed ties with Calgary, and he was included in a four-artist show including work by his wife, son and daughter, by the Art Gallery of Calgary in 2011. Over the years in Calgary, Hall showed with the former Canadian Art Galleries, the Newzones Gallery, the Wallace Gallery, and the Weiss Gallery. He signed with the multi-city Canadian dealer Loch Gallery in 2010.

A meaningful context for Hall’s work is something to think about—and a real sense of where his work “fits” has shifted through the decades. Taking Derek Michael Besant’s view, perhaps the realism in Hall’s work is not the major aspect to be considered, and in fact might even be something of a stumbling block for viewers. Yet Hall himself still admires realist painting and keeps up to date with what various realist artists around the world are doing.

He has mentioned that he admires realist painters who create a feeling of calm in their work and he cites the paintings of the late Canadian artist Jack Chambers, and the Madrid-based painter Antonio Lopez Garcia as being particularly inspirational. When he first began working in a naturalistic manner in the 1960s, Hall’s work was cutting edge, especially in terms of its huge scale and grungy subject matter. By sticking with realism all these many years, however, he has created a hard row to hoe for himself, as so many people now apparently consider realist art to be old-fashioned and out of touch with current art practice. Two years ago Hall discussed this situation in detail in a published conversation with his former student, Alberta realist painter Keith Harder in a catalogue accompanying a solo exhibition of Harder’s work.8

And what of Hall’s insistence that his subjects are not important? There is a notion drawn from literary criticism known as the intentional fallacy, whereby one cannot take the artist’s stated, conscious intention at face value when analyzing a given work.9 A classic example of intentional fallacy in painting is a work from 1891 by Georges Seurat called La Cirque. Although the artist’s stated intention was to produce a happy painting, it is, in fact, very sad in mood, and is a pretty macabre work. So, Hall may just not be consciously aware of the importance of his subjects. Or, looking at it another way, perhaps his so-called subjects—the souvenirs, dishes and candies—are not his actual subjects at all, but his art has a deeper, hidden meaning. What would this meaning be?—Surely nothing as specific as iconographically related to his painted objects, I don’t think, but maybe something general, and quite replete with emotion. His Ralph Goings-diner-deadpan could be just a front, and sufficient to satisfy many of his viewers. But neither Derek Michael Besant nor Nancy Tousley were taken in, and it was their texts that inspired me to start thinking about this topic myself. Tousley pointed out, for example, that Hall likes to depict objects that are ambiguous, and I wonder if it is not the layers of meaning in an object that attract him at some level.10 Ultimately, we know so little of ourselves, and of others as well. It seems we only discover who we are by going about living our lives. What matters is that we have lived, and that while alive we are connected to something, whether actually the reflection of light from the side of an object we feel compelled to reproduce in paint, or something else altogether.


1 Denver-based artist Daniel Sprick considers himself an heir to John Singer Sargent. This quotation of his appears in an essay on his website by Jane Fudge, taken from a Denver Art Museum brochure from 1999.

2 Interview with John Hall by Robert Enright, “Odd Man Out: an interview with John Hall”, Border Crossings, Vol 8, No 3, summer, 1989, p 19.

3 Tousley, Nancy, “John Hall’s Still-Life Portraits”, Imitations of Life: John Hall’s Still-Life Portraits, Kingston, Ontario: Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Queen’s University, 1989, pp 24–5.

4 Tousley, Imitations of Life, 1989, p 10.

5 This show also travelled to the Museo de Arts Contemporaneo in Aquascalientes, Mexico, and in abbreviated form to the Glenbow in Calgary in 1994, and the Art Gallery of the South Okanagan, in Penticton, British Columbia, in 1996.

6 See Besant, Derek Michael, “John Hall / Traza de Evidencia,” John Hall: Traza de Evidencia, Mexico City: Museo de Arte Moderno, 1992.

7 Besant, John Hall, 1992, p 10.

8 See this text in Keith Harder: Observation and Invention, Penticton Art Gallery, 2013.

9 See Wimsatt, WK and Monroe Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy”, The Verbal Icon, Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1954.

10 Tousley, Imitations of Life, 1989, p 25.