Perry Hall (American, b. 1967); Untitled Number 3 (Ice Cold Delicacy), 2003; still from digital video of oil, acrylic, and mixed-media painted filmed live/37 sec. Courtesy of the artist. x1200

Perry Hall: Material Intelligence

June 10, 2006 - December 3, 2006

The Williams College Museum of Art Media Field Program presents Perry Hall: Material Intelligence, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition. Three distinct, yet interconnected areas of Hall’s work are included in the exhibition: Livepaintings (videos of paint in motion), Decalcomania paintings (painted canvases), and Sound Drawings (images of sound waves moving through paint). The centerpiece of the exhibition is a collection of Hall’s Livepaintings in which the artist filmed the behavior of paint as it interacts with a variety of substances and stimuli including agitation, vibration, temperature, and chance. Hall considers paint to be a dynamic, time-based material, one that is continuously evolving and in flux, formed by living principles. According to Hall, “Livepainting is a form of visual improvisation similar to improvising music.” The result of these improvisations is a series of videos, filmed in real time and edited without any digital manipulation, which are studies in the sensual and self-organizing nature of paint as a medium.

Material Intelligence also includes Hall’s unusual adaptation of the Decalcomania technique, in which the artist relies on organization principles found in nature to compose his canvases. Invented by the German-born Surrealist, Max Ernst, decalcomania involves applying paint to a surface and then placing a piece of glass upon it; the paint is pressurized and organizes into complex networks of raised interlocking lines and ridges, creating an index of the forces imposed by the artist. Hall’s resulting works–some on Masonite and some on x-ray paper–resemble landscapes ranging from aerial topographies to vast communities of microscopic organisms.

Additionally, WCMA has commissioned Hall to complete his current work-in-progress, 1,465 Sound Drawings, an ambitious project combining video and works on paper begun by the artist in 2003.  In a 48-second video, sound waves from an electric bass are channeled through a vessel containing paint, creating structures and imagery that are legible as 1,465 drawings. 1,465 Sound Drawings explores the experience of synesthesia, in which one sense, such as hearing, is translated into a perception in another sense, such as sight.

Perry Hall: Material Intelligence was organized by the Williams College Museum of Art’s director, Lisa Corrin. “This summer we present three distinct approaches to painting as material substance and process in time: Jackson Pollock’s pioneering “friezes,” Jacqueline Humphries explorations of light and velocity; and Perry Hall’s innovative, deeply philosophical meditations on the isomorphic overlap between paint and the invisible structures that comprise history and daily life. These exhibitions provide a unique opportunity for museum visitors to consider the legacy of Pollock’s generation and the ongoing vitality of the painted medium.”

About the Artist

Perry Hall was raised in Sarasota, Florida and attended Simon’s Rock College of Bard, Berklee College of Music, and the University of California at Santa Cruz. His paintings have been featured in exhibitions at the Jamaica Center for the Arts (New York), Artists Space (New York), and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum (New York) where he collaborated with the architecture collective, Servo. His interactive digital work, Hypnagogue, was presented at The Kitchen (New York), The American Museum of the Moving Image (New York), the International Symposium on Electronic Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Image/Architettura (Video and Film for Architecture) in Florence, Italy, among other venues.

Hall worked as a painter and digital artist on the imaginary landscapes of What Dreams May Come starring Robin Williams that won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and in SonicVision, a music animation at the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History (New York). As a composer and performing musician, Hall has traveled nationally with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company and he composed the score for Tolstoy’s Redemption (The Living Corpse) by Jonathan Schilder-Brown at La Mama (New York).

Most recently, Hall directed/produced Jackson Pollock: Beneath the Surface, the documentary film created in conjunction with an exhibition of the artist’s frieze paintings at the Williams College Museum of Art. Hall has taught digital art and video at Bennington College and participates regularly in studio critiques at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture.

Special Programs

Artist Talk/Curator Dialogue
Perry Hall will give an artist talk on Thursday, September 14 at 4:00pm at the museum. Sponsored by WCMA in collaboration with the Williams College Department of Art.

Artist Performance
A performance by artist Perry Hall on the electric bass will be presented in the Museum’s historic rotunda on Sunday, September 24 at 2:00 pm.

See more of the artist’s work at