September 7, 2023

Essay by John Hall on Chambers, 2020

In writing about my painting Chambers, I must begin with a general note, and that is that I tend to pay less attention to a painting’s iconographic content than to its formal and technical qualities. Composition, size, and surface qualities generally matter more to me than subject matter, and my subjects tend to reflect aspects of everyday life. Having said that, Chambers is a complex image— atypical for me—with a few unusual object juxtapositions that led me to create this note about the painting.

The idea for this painting began when fellow realist painter and friend Richard Thomas Davis introduced me to a modest still life painting he had stumbled upon while searching out Baroque chamber music. The painting had been used as the cover art for a CD of compositions by 17th-century Austrian Baroque composer Romanus Weichlein. The artist was Sebastien Stoskopff, a 17th-century German still life painter. He had made the painting, a small 17 x 24-inch oil, in the 1630s and Richard and I both found it charmingly odd. Though Stoskopff did produce larger, more elaborate and “flashier” still lifes I was struck by this one’s simplicity and slightly offbeat juxtapositions—a cut lemon, a raw whole fish, a bowl, and a wood-shaving box, all sitting a little precariously on a table.

To read the entire article, please click on the PDF listed below.

Image credit:

John Hall
Framed: Chambers, 2020
Acrylic on Canvas
36 x 36 in