Julia Hall is a UK-based artist whose Common Thread series shines a spotlight on historically invisible women and challenges the distinction between “high” and “low” forms of art.
In her first instalment – Matriarchy – Hall depicts the traditional attire of her female ancestors in oil paint in order to subvert patriarchal ideas of artistry and lineage. Throughout history, the “masculine” and public art of oil painting has been celebrated and conserved; however, women were confined to the private, domestic sphere where they were exclusively taught to sew and embroider.
Looking to her own family tree, Hall reclaims her female ancestors – of whom a piece of sewn art is often the only remaining trace – by merging “feminine” and “masculine” practices. The traditional dress of her female antecedents is meticulously rendered on a bare linen canvas in oil paint and finished with hand-embroidered details to form an alternative matriarchal lineage.
The second instalment of the series – Suffrage – focuses on women throughout history and across the globe who have played an instrumental role in the female enfranchisement movement. Hall pays homage by rendering the attire of historic women leaders in startling detail, thus redefining gender roles and resituating them in the present moment.
Julia Hall exhibits her work extensively across the UK.