Linda Hall is a Florida-based artist whose textile sculptures blur the boundaries between human and animal, innocence and the grotesque. Like a taxidermy studio of preserved fairy tale creatures, fox heads and bipedal bearskins hang ominously, eyeless and empty. Using un-dyed tissue paper, handmade quilts, and other textiles, Hall gives her pieces a “patchwork” quality, sculpting a mix of twisted and fantastical bodily features, inlcuding warped antlers, multiple ears, and eerie, human-like grins. Designed like masks, puppets, and full-body costumes, Hall’s works are “containers for the spirit” that seek to deconstruct the human/animal binary in pursuit of a more fluid understanding of identity—one that morphs beyond the corporeal boundaries of species (Source). As she explains in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay:
“Like a sixteenth-century curiosity cabinet, my objects aim to provide evidence of another reality. Many of the sculptures, domestic and wild, are constructed from collected handmade quilts and other textiles. These materials have their own intimate history, yet they are repurposed into charged spaces where humans and animals occupy the same space. Many forms show evidence of life and life events, such as wounds and the mending.”
The stories of “wounds” and “mending” are embedded directly into the sculptures through Hall’s creative process. Embellished with paint, beads, and flowers, the pieces are, in many ways, objects of curious beauty; like toys drawn from a child’s costume chest, they radiate with an endearing, imaginative, and anthropomorphized sense of friendliness. However, in many cases, paint has been plastered overtop of these adornments, creating a caked-on and disfigured appearance that signifies the messy process of healing and the scars left behind. Beautiful, lonely, and repulsive all at once, Hall’s menagerie confronts us with the familiar-yet-otherworldly emotional spaces that humans and animals both share—as well as the damage and exploitation inflicted on the natural world, despite these deep interrelations.