Little Rock, AR
Organized by the Arkansas Arts Center to complement Little Dreams in Glass and Metal, a nationally-traveling exhibition, Glass Fantasies is a retrospective exhibition containing more than forty enamels produced between 1977 and 1989 by longtime Arkansas Arts Center Registrar and artist, Thom E. Hall.
Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Hall studied creative writing, drama, and the visual arts at the University of Arkansas between 1966 and 1974. Shortly thereafter, Hall relocated to Little Rock, where he took numerous workshops at the Museum School of the Arkansas Arts Center, including enamels with William Harper, ceramics with Cynthia Bringle and Patti Warashina, and drawing with Burton Callicott, Lowell Nesbitt, among others. In 1975, Hall began what would ultimately lead to a forty-year career at the Arkansas Arts Center, including thirty-four as Registrar.
Throughout his artistic career, Hall has worked in diverse media—watercolor, pencil, and paint—in his narrative portrayals of the human figure. Thus, it is no coincidence that Hall would bring this experience to his enamels, working in both the painterly Limoges-style and cloisonné techniques. A French word, cloisonné literally translates as, walled, compartmentalized, or partitioned. When used in reference to enameling, it is a technique in which thin wires—typically gold, silver, copper, or brass—are used to create compartments or areas (cloisons) in which enamel powder later will be applied. This allows for hard-edge, linear compositions in which the artist can prevent the colors from intermingling.
His intimately scaled and skillfully composed cloisonné enamel panels—most of which measure five inches by four inches—are drawn from a rich tapestry of childhood memories, fantasies, dreams, and desires. His compositions are visual manifestations of the artist’s bawdy, tongue-in-cheek humor, as anyone who knows Thom can attest. Many also depict Sylvia Moskowitz, a transgressive she-male character who represents his alter-ego of sorts. Still others depict bar interiors and resort life of the 1930s and 1940s as well as beach scenes filled with strapping young men either lounging or playing a variety of sports. “All of my work is very personal and based on my experiences and visual memory…When I was about ten we took a family vacation to Miami Beach. I have lots of great vivid visuals in my head from that trip,” Hall recalled.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website