Watt Space, Newcastle, 2011
Another tableau of disquiet is played out so perfectly in the work of Deborah Hally in the long room. This work is not real, this work simply uses the medium of photography, and although it is said that the camera never lies, it insists in presenting to us a series of fictitious narratives. Glimpses of childhood and the ellipses of memory are played out on these constructed stages, the luscious colour, fantastic costumery and language of faceless models all create a sense of the strange and foreboding. It is not just this directorship ,however ,that creates images which are disturbing, familiar, mnemonic, – Deborah draws, in photoshop, not as the manufacturer intended but uses it to her own instinctive ritual, and allows her imagination to present the final story. For me, I think it is of course the fantastic saturation of colour and the costumes and the enigmatic nature of the models that talk of sinister communion and rites of passage, it is the blurring on the picture plane of the real and the unreal , drawn elements and a shift in the ocular view so comfortable with focus and depth of field. They all march out of their own space and confuse, confound and absorb.
Curator, University of Newcastle Gallery
NEWCASTLE HERALD October 2011
The current crop of student exhibitions at Watt Space, until October 23, demonstrates the strength of photography in the art school of the University of Newcastle. Long-term student Deborah Hally continues to find hidden narratives in her posed studies of young girls. Over the years her models have grown up into a mysteriously haunted adolescence; hands drip with iridescent red glitter, a shell sings of mortality, here long hair veils hidden faces in edgy ambiguous allegory.
“The Subterraneans” Watt Space, Newcastle 2010
At Watt Space until August 8 there is the usual mix of exhibitions. The most accomplished work is certainly the photomedia exploration of a surreal femininity by Deborah Hally. She has shown a number of these memorable prints before, but it is good to see them as a group. Luxuriant female hair is both provocative and as full of latent energy as the sea. Old chairs have the evocative presence of costume drama. Mysterious theatrics include a cake and a bandaged dog. Unsettling hints abound. It is perhaps surprising that this significant artist, after years of study at both TAFE and university, has not had more solo exhibitions.
Jill Stowell, Newcastle Herald
30 July, 2010
“Off the Wall” Art Melbourne 2008
Deborah Hally’s work is both whimsical and chilling, a strange palimpsest of circus and Armageddon. It is a still from a David Lynch film or Enid Blyton on acid. Beautiful and disturbing.
Ashley Crawford, Melbourne-based art critic, author and
Deborah Hally’s photographs of children are all faceless too – and children’s faces are especially well-guarded in the age of the all-seeing camera, particularly when there is a heightened fear of predators.
However, it is the children themselves who obscure the faces in these works, rather than those blurry pixels that we have become accustomed, attaching them with a level of power and agency as they seem to control our gaze. This work* of Hally’s in particular has a peculiar David Lynch feel to it. Are we looking into a tiny doll’s house. Is it a dream, is it a memory? The image conveys the sense that there is something of the realm of childhood that somehow escapes us as adults and becomes frightening. The child, or the memory might just slip behind the striped circus curtain into a strange, non-linguistic world inaccessible for grown-ups.
Laura McLean-Ferris, independent curator and critic, and a
regular contributor to ArtReview magazine
*”The Kingdom”, 2008
“Paper Walls” Podspace, Newcastle, March 2008
At Podspace, photographs by Deborah Hally and Clare Weeks promise some innovative images by two award winning artists. Clare Weeks has long found allegory in meditative studies of a blind-covered window lighting an abandoned room. A shadowy inhabitant underlines the inherent sense of transcendence.
Deborah Hally deals with a cognate sense of loss in many teasing images. The fingers of gloves are knotted together, toys are outgrown, painted fingernails represent the past and the present.
This distinguished exhibition is on view until March 29.
Jill Stowell, Newcastle Herald