Sunday, 14 September 2014

Portfolio: Roxana Halls

14/09/14
Portfolio: Roxana Halls

Growing up, Roxana Halls wanted to be an actor – until she realised she was too shy. Luckily, at 16, she discovered painting. Theatre is still a vital part of her art, however, as her studio is the saloon bar of an old theatre, now bingo hall, in Streatham, and much of her work has theatrical themes. Tingle-Tangle, an exhibition at the National Theatre in 2009, was a celebration of all things cabaret, and recent commissions have been for large-scale canvases telling the stories of Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz.

All of her work has a feminist take and many pieces show teetering towers of precariously stacked objects, a comment on the precarious balancing act women must perform to uphold their facades in every day life. Her recent exhibition, Appetite, at Hay Hill Gallery, was filled with paintings of women eating, set on a sliding scale, with some scarcely daring to indulge and others displaying a voracious appetite. “This has nothing to do with eating disorders and body image,” Hall assures. “The food is a metaphor for life.”

Halls’ ideas come from all over and Carvery was inspired by Jack Monroe. Representing many of the foods with which Halls grew up, in her working class, east end family – savaloy, tinned spam, mushy peas and angel delight – it argues that people can make it good, regardless of their income.

With glowing reviews by Brian Sewell, a studio to beat all others, and commissions from the rich and famous, Halls has definitely proved this to be true. Her one wish? “To paint Kate Bush. Now that would be perfect!”


Roxana Halls: Appetite
Hay Hill Gallery
25 August - 26 September 2014




To see this portfolio in full, please buy the October issue of DIVA magazine








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