A tornado is when wind spins around so fast it becomes a column, thick with its own momentum. It carves out a hollow conduit that touches both earth and sky. These points of contact are essential to securing its shape, that iconic funnel, as if the heavens could be tipped and poured, like cloudy milk, or pulled taught, twilight braided into rope. The acute transformation of energy into object is usually very frightening, a sign of both physical danger and a more existential discomfort. We rely on predictable and distinct categories of form; nobody forgets the difference between nouns and verbs. And yet, the possibility of all that is felt but not seen (air, expression, idea, desire) to aggregate and ossify, to become a thing in the world – that’s the promise of a tornado, but maybe also art, or love.
In Kate Hall’s work, bodies are often in the middle of a movement, extended in a leap or a kick. They parade, dance, stretch, tumble. The forms have a kind of chaotic, joyful energy, unsure of their own size or power, as if the paintings themselves had oversized paws. But none freeze the kinetic: this is no Muybridge, icy fossils of idealized gesture. Instead, the body is often ruptured, obscured, half-dissolved. The foreground pours into back. She is no longer solid, and what gets heavy is all that shouldn’t. Hall offers us a cartoon metaphysics, as the wind billows out like big bulbous onions, shadows are sharp and opaque, laughter sinks like bricks: HA! HA! HA! Things are taking shape that usually have none, and all the shape-y things (humans, animals, planets) are becoming shapeless. This is ecstatic, and also mournful. We might miss our weight in this other world, forced to let go of the fantasy of our own edges. Were our bodies only ever tricks of the light, caught spinning? We watch as the house becomes air; the air becomes house. The force of our own cyclical yearning hardens, and the landscape lifts to kiss the sky.