Betsy Lohrer Hall


soundplay <=> southbay

Gallery Show, April 27 – June 1, 2024

breaking codes (2006)

Kneeling on the ground, I tap the names of God – from different belief systems, religions, and languages – in Morse Code. The eggshells often break before a name is complete.

When reduced to long and short taps, the names sound very much alike. 

It’s a humbling, awkward activity, an abstract way to challenge any claim to perfect understanding of the divine. It’s also a study of ritual and striving.

This project arose from my distress over our tendency to condemn the “other” and commit violence based on differences of religious belief and ideology. This was resonant in 2006. It’s still resonant today.

Betsy Lohrer Hall (2024)

flagmaking (2008)

As part of “flagmaking” (Artwalk 2008) these tubes were used to whisper and listen. Participants were asked to tell “a truth, a hope, a secret, or a lie.” A listener would then write down what they heard (accurate or not) in black pen on scraps of white cloth. The statements were hung on clotheslines where the public could read them; the private and personal became public and anonymous. If someone disagreed with a comment on cloth, they could try to wash out the lettering in a large tub of water. Some words stayed fast, others bled.

It was the run up to the 2008 election in the U.S., where we would be choosing between Barack Obama and John McCain for President. There were many claims and promises being made by and about these two people. While all eyes were on the “big lives” being lived in the public eye, I was curious what was happening in our everyday lives, hidden from view.

Betsy Lohrer Hall (2024)

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Visual artist Betsy Lohrer Hall makes works on paper, installations, and site-specific interactive projects. She has a longstanding interest in process and impermanence; this is expressed in a variety of ways, from delicate repeated marks on paper, to her use of simple, fragile materials such as thread, eggshells, or collected, cast off objects. Since 2002 her artwork has been increasingly influenced by sound and multi-sensory perception. She earned her MFA in drawing and painting from California State University, Fullerton, and her BA in studio art from Colorado College. Based in Long Beach, California, she has exhibited her work in solo and group shows along the west coast of the U.S., in Thailand and Taiwan. She is a 2022 Professional Artist Fellowship recipient from the Arts Council of Long Beach, a grant made possible in part by the City of Long Beach and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artist Location: Long Beach, CA

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