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Kenneth Hall’s “Sublime Visions” to be featured in Ray Frederick Gallery

MARSHALLTOWN – University of Northern Iowa art professor, Kenneth Hall, will share a display of his artwork in MCC’s Ray Frederick Gallery, room 306, on the Marshalltown Community College campus. The Hall exhibit will open 9 am on Monday, January 25, and will be on display through noon Friday, February 19.

Hall has a unique story of how he started creating his artwork and what sparked his love for the arts. After spending ten years as a civil engineer and officer in the Coast Guard, graduating from the USCG Academy, about halfway through his tour he had a visit with relatives and one of his aunts recommended reading the book, “Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain.” She was reading the book with a group of friends and thought Hall may be interested as well. After initially declining, curiosity got the better of him and he picked the book up at the library.

“I began sketching some of the exercises in the book and brought pencils and a sketch pad with me on my hour-long commute to my job in Washington, DC,” commented Hall. “The hobby began to take on a life of its own and I enrolled in a night class at a local college…then another class.” Once his obligation to the Coast Guard was up, he decided to return to school to study art at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He continued his education, earning his Master of Fine arts from Miami University. He went on to and is still currently teaching painting and drawing at the University of Northern Iowa. “It has been an exciting and unusual path, and a leap of faith from my former engineering career!”

He has been creating ever since, for almost 20 years. “Making art is sometimes a meditative act, and is sometimes terribly difficult and frustrating. The finished product is always rewarding, though,” said Hall.

This is Hall’s first exhibit at MCC. He will be exhibiting primarily oil paintings. A few of the paintings will have charcoal, shellac, acrylic paint, and even spray paint in places, particularly as an underpainting. The paintings will be on canvas and panel and may include a shaped piece or two.

When asked what inspires Hall he said, “I’m inspired by so many things! Music videos were formative during my teen years, thank you, MTV and I draw inspiration from art history particularly the Baroque and Rococo time periods and contemporary artists. Other notable contemporary inspirations would include Romanian painter Adrian Ghenie, installation and video artist Pipilotti Rist. I also love collage, especially as a way of arranging source material for a painting. Collage almost always leads to surprising and interesting arrangements of space and form.”

Hall is looking forward to his first exhibit at MCC. “I’m excited to make a few new pieces for this exhibition and to use the space to create a new experience of the work. Every time I show work in a different venue, I see new connections between the works even when the pieces were made a decade apart in time. So the experience of curating a show also gives me insight into the existing work and inspiration to make new work, too.”

Hall is hoping those that visit the exhibit will have an immersive experience. “Large paintings are roughly the same scale as a human and tend to be more enveloping than small works. While in graduate school I learned that I love to work with mystery and a bit of ambiguity in the images I create. As the exhibition title hints, I love the feeling of sublime, both in nature, things like severe weather or standing on the edge of a cliff, and in visual work.”

Hall is currently exhibiting his work at Waterloo, IA and some paintings at the Moberg Gallery in Des Moines. He has also had exhibits at Bowling Green State University, Hastings College, Parkland College, and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania as well as art fairs The Other Art Fair in Los Angeles and the Parallax Art Fair in New York City.

All of Hall’s pieces exhibited at MCC will be available for purchase. The Ray Frederick Gallery is open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information contact MCC Art Professor Tim Castle at 641-844-5776 or

Marshalltown Community College, located in Marshalltown, is a member of the Iowa Valley Community College District. The District is comprised of Marshalltown Community College, Ellsworth Community College, Iowa Valley Grinnell, and Iowa Valley Continuing Education. The District serves a broad range of students and businesses throughout Central Iowa. For more information, check out the website at

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