Julia Hall is a UK based artist. In her Common Thread series each work depicts a dress on a bare linen canvas rendered in oil paint and hand embroidery. The series is an exploration of the relationship between these "high" and "low" art forms and the re-discovery of historically invisible women; whilst the male and public art of oil painting has been celebrated, conserved and widely displayed across the centuries, sewing has been largely confined to a feminine, domestic sphere. In her first group of seven paintings - Matriarchy, Hall looks to her own family tree interrogating patriarchal lineage. She seeks to reclaim her female ancestors, of whom a piece of sewn art - a sampler, quilt or embroidered image - is sometimes the only remnant we have. Needlecraft, a skill passed from mother to daughter, forms an alternative matriarchal lineage threading its way down through the generations.
Hall’s current work – Suffrage, continues to explore the theme of bringing women from history to the fore, this time with a global gaze. By selecting women who were instrumental in their national fight for suffrage, and sometimes simultaneously the fight for de-colonisation and racial equality, Hall creates her own monument to a powerful, female, global movement. The struggle for emancipation was also marked by international female cooperation, with successful movements passing on their knowledge and experience to those in other nations.
Through her figurative paintings, Hall addresses multi-layered subjects and engages with social issues from representations of gender to the onslaught of news in our daily lives. In 2018, the artist's series If Not Now saw her create a painting every week for a year that reflected the news stories of the time, from the rogue drone sightings that closed London's Gatwick Airport to Florida student Emma Gonzalez's impassioned speech at a gun control rally in the USA. Created in response to the frenetic media onslaught in contemporary society, the slow, rigorous layering of oil paint gives longevity to otherwise fleeting events. The works combine precise attention to detail in oil with outlines in charcoal. Hall returned to this work during 2020, documenting the unfolding Covid 19 crisis with a series of 10 paintings.