This artwork by Fiona Hall, named Book XIII: Trees and their use in supplying perfume (1991) is a part of her series (Historia Non-Naturalis) that is heavily based around nature and culture. Hall first emerged in the 1970’s as a photographer, then after discovering a range of art forms, began her journey as an artist, using techniques such as sculpture, painting, installation gardening designs and metal works. She first became well known for her erotic sardine can series named Paradisus Terrestris.
Hall addresses political and social issues which illustrate an insightful and distinctive look into Hall’s core theme, which is her relationship between nature and culture. This is interwoven throughout a vast majority of Hall’s artworks and is subtlety hinted throughout this art piece. Hall is considered to be one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. Hall’s collage is a reflection of her well known connection to nature and culture.Order now
The variety of layers and mediums create a lively yet subtlety toned piece giving the viewer a sense of movement and flow through the piece. Hall has manipulated the elements and principles of design to construct an interesting, subtlety coloured collage. Book XIII: Trees and their use in supplying perfume (1991), which is in portrait format includes multiple perfume bottles attached to its surface, with withered roses inside each bottle. The overlying image of three nude women is painted over the bottles and aligned so that they fit and create a well-blended image.
The women are painted in multiple layers of acrylic paint and pastels creating a thick cracked effect upon the edges which adds to the limited color palette Hall has used to create an older, dirtier rustic piece. The bodies of the women work together to create movement and rhythm to this piece, however despite Hall’s use of a limited color palette and arrangement of perfume bottles, it still allows for a distinct foreground, mid ground and back ground. For example the foreground consists of the perfume bottles, as they are raised from the rest of the piece creating level and depth to Hall’s work.
Throughout the various perfume bottles, Hall has painted parts of these three women onto them, which blurs the lines between the foreground and mid ground, but distinctively the bottles seem to slightly give more depth to the women, alternatively pushing them into the mid ground. In the background there is minimal depth but Hall has created multiple layers of mixed media, which include paint, pastels, fabric, and paper, which complement the overall unity of the piece, creating a gentle, flowing piece of artwork.
Hall has purposely manipulated the elements and principles of art to design an authentic, emotional artwork that is a powerful representation of Hall’s connection with nature and culture. Line, color and shape, are all critical in Halls artworks to convey her emotions. The line in this artwork is descriptive, embellishing the background surface and also parts of the women’s bodies. It is used freely to outline their hands and their bodies in some areas. The colors used throughout this artwork are mostly tints and shades of blacks, whites and warm yellows.
The shapes within this artwork are organic, and this is shown in almost every shape. The perfume bottles are geometric shapes showing that this mix with geometric and organic shape is how Hall displays her interest in nature and culture and expresses this in her artwork. Textures on this artwork range from fabric, to paint, to wall paper; these are all mainly applied onto the background and mid ground areas to show the cracked background and the women’s hair.
The manipulation of patterns is everywhere in Halls artwork. It is shown in the women’s hair, and in multiple areas throughout the background of the image. The contrast between the hard geometric shapes of the perfume bottles against the soft flowing lines of the women’s bodies has created an interesting image calling for more focus to comprehend the other images underneath. The repetition of colors and tones create a subtle image that reinforces the harmony and unity of this piece.
Hall’s use of shades and tones has created a dark, washed out look to her artwork yet it also creates an eerie yet beautiful mood and feel. She has incorporated the use of withered roses and perfume bottles to reinforce her links with the land and her culture, knowing that this is evident throughout all of Hall’s art pieces. She’s also incorporates text “Skin Deep which refers to her intent and purpose of this artwork which was to address the social issue of what is beautiful and the fact that beauty and perfume are both only skin deep.
Hall has used the perfume bottles as the focal point as they are raised, and with the color of the withered roses being a different color to all the others, brings attention to them. The title of this piece reinforces the underlying message and mood of this piece which is to say that beauty is only “Skin Deep . Hall’s artwork Book XIII: Trees and their use in supplying perfume (1991) has clearly and evidently reflected her intentions and emotions through every aspect of her collage while still creating a harmonized, unified piece.
Her artwork clearly reflects the slow, flowing movement and rhythm of this social issue while confronting it head on. The variety of layers and mediums that Hall has incorporated create a lively yet subtlety, toned piece giving the viewer a sense of movement and flow throughout. Hall has manipulated the elements and principles of design to construct an interesting, subtlety, coloured collage.