I have been engaged as an artist for more than twenty years in a practice that includes visual art production, installation, writing, sound, book works, film and performance. This is how I make my living. Joining the faculty at Goddard in 1998, represented the first "job" that I’ve had since I became fully self-employed in 1984. I live in Newfoundland, the youngest and economically poorest province in Canada, though one of its richest in culture, history, and traditions of survival. It is both a challenge and a privilege to thrive as an artist and filmmaker in such an environment... distant from the wealthy centres, committed to the margin and the possibilities it holds. Most of my work, in one way or another emerges from this PLACE, and the daily power of wild nature that has remained un-mastered and uncontrolled, here in the North Atlantic.
My art practice is extremely diverse... crossing boundaries of discipline, media, and process. I work in the landscape with site specific installations, in the studio with 2 and 3 dimensional media, at my computer with digital imagery, and out in the world at large, with sound recorder, a 16mm or video or still camera. I make meaning in whatever media seems best suited to throw my voice to the audience I want to speak with. I have installed transient works that lived in wheat fields in rural Alberta, mapped the domestic landscape of coastal British Columbia, the badlands of the Canadian prairie, and rural Japan. I have made films that speak to people who might never enter an art gallery. I have created work that emerged from, and now lives permanently in, a small rural fishing community. I have made books for children, drawings for banks, and have produced and installed work that speaks to doctors and medical students in the school and hospital corridors where they work.
For me, this is one of the most provocative thrills of practice... finding the way to throw the meaning... the voice that my audience can "hear." I am process and community-based, rather than product oriented; my practice focusing more on ways of seeing and knowing that on the manufacture of rare and beautiful objects for consumption... though I am deeply engaged in the process of "making" and "forming"... very grounded in those rituals of a physical body interacting with the material world. I also continue to exhibit in the traditional gallery system, in artist-run-centres, and my work has been shown locally, nationally, and internationally, and is in major public collections, including that of the National Gallery of Canada.
In addition to my solitary practices both in and out of the studio- I also work with others- collaborating with individuals and communities, sometimes in the arts and often outside those boundaries.
I spent two years as the first Artist-in-Residence in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University, where I taught medical students, undertook research into how they learn to see and know the body, and produced a large and diverse body of work which reflected on the clinical and medical education communities. This work can be seen on-line at An Artist in the Halls of Science.
I LIKE working with non-artists…whether they are fishers or farmers, scholars or med students, it keeps me thinking and learning, languages strategies, ways of thinking, working and dreaming.
Since 1987, I have also been working as an Art Director and Production Designer in the independent film community, collaborating with writers, musicians, actors, film artists and crews, to bring some one else's vision to the screen. My work in the film industry has had major impacts on my studio practice, offering opportunities to collaborate, rather than author, to stretch my skills materially and in a design context, and to grapple with issues of representation, appropriation, and the role of film in rendering a unique cultural voice, in an environment still dominated by big-studio Hollywood. It has also privileged me by embedding me deeply in a creative and cultural community which is larger in spirit and in context than the world of the art gallery, and which balances the solitary work of my own studio practice.
I am a practitioner... a working artist. I am a feminist; a political activist, an anti-colonial, and an ardent learner who has struggled to transgress the boundaries which fragmented knowledge when I was a student... whether they are between Art and Science, male and female, rational and intuitive. The perspectives that I try to bring to my interactions with students in the arts, are those of engaged, self-examined, and strategic creative practice within communities, however they might be defined. I believe that the artist in whatever discipline, has a crucial and fundamental role to play in the elaboration and representation of cultures, in the investigation of both cultural and individual voice, in the invention and examination of knowledge, and in the re-enchantment of our relationships with one another and with Nature. My work with students has enriched my life and my practice immensely... enlivening my deep curiosity about how and why we make meaning, challenging my spirit, my thinking and my heart, and re-invigorating my commitment to a community of diverse creators who are continuously engaged in learning. To see my work in all disciplines, please visit www.pamhall.ca.
Current Research Interests: medicine, health, the female body; the practices of fishing, farming and other human physical engagements in Nature; Ethics and Moral Geography; Art and Science; the politics of culture and empowered voice; post-colonialism; theories of knowledge, cognition and perception; and art, media and cultural practice, both historically and in a contemporary context.