As a veteran ocean sailor, traveling more than 25,000 miles at sea, Joan Hall has come to understand full well the crisis of ocean pollution. Hall’s latest work encompasses her passion for the environment, incorporating found or cast paper marine debris in expansive works in Mylar and handmade paper. Previously exploring the ocean and its relationship to the body, Hall’s recent work enlarges ocean ecology as a metaphor of global society.
The ocean suggests endless, infinite space and conveys a calm, spiritual realm. It is a source of ever changing beauty. The ocean is so vast and man so small in comparison, but man’s actions are like a virus, spreading worldwide through the currents of the sea. What is dumped in the ocean is a worldwide problem. What is tossed in the water in Haiti can end up in Louisiana. As the seas become more acidic, it affects the coral reefs that are dying off at an alarming rate, and anything with a calcium carbonate shell.
At one time detritus regurgitated from the sea was made of materials that would decompose and naturally biodegrade at sea. Plastic has changed all this because the waste floats indefinitely as flotsam circulating the world. Plastic fragments into smaller and smaller pieces that are scattered throughout the water, birds and fish are ingesting it at an alarming rate. Hall documents this through removing the debris from the site and either “freezing” it into a shape by encasing it in paper or casting the objects creating translucent ghost like replicas. These skins are symbolic of the relationship of our bodies to bodies of water.
Fishing nests are now made of plastic rope and they “ghost fish” the ocean, collecting all types of marine life and debris. The piece in this exhibition, Ghost Drifters brings to attention the human imprint on the ocean. An initial action might seem insignificant at the time can have long lasting implications. My work addresses the crisis of today, one of complacency to changing climates and changing chemistry in the world. I want to initiate a conversation and awareness about the deterioration of our greatest resource, water.