A veteran sailor, Joan Hall understands the crisis of ocean pollution. Her stunning large-scale works of art and installations combine found or cast paper marine debris into handmade paper and explore the effects of plastic on the sea. As the artist notes, plastic has changed the marine ecosystem; ten percent of the world’s plastic winds up in the ocean, does not biodegrade, and floats indefinitely around the globe. Birds and marine wildlife also ingest this plastic. For “Sea of Heartbreak,” Hall focuses on the increase in algae bloom and invasive algae and dying coral reefs worldwide, the result of increasing ocean temperatures. Plastic pollution has contributed in part to this devastating ecological shift. Through the creation of complex layered arrangements of paper and objects in rich colors, Hall creates sculptures that are both alluring and yet cautionary as they remind us of the peril we were in should we choose to ignore pollution.
Hall received her BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio and her MFA at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She studied papermaking with Garner Tullis at the Institute of Experimental Printmaking in San Francisco. She is the Emerita Kenneth Hudson Professor of Art in Sculpture at Washington University in St. Louis where she taught printmaking, papermaking and sculpture. She has been a visiting artist internationally and most recently was an art critic in the graduate program at RISD. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Museum of Nebraska Art, Anya Tish Gallery, Houston, Silkeborg Art Center, Denmark, the Rijswijk Museum, and Appledoorn Museum, Holland, and Brooklyn Museum of Art. Her work is in numerous museum collections. Joan Hall lives in Jamestown, RI.