Painted on an Egyptian cotton pillowslip, Sunbather shows the artist lying on his back on a towel, relaxed on holiday, but surrounding him are scorch marks made with an iron and dark radiating beams. Hall has commented that the painting is concerned with a combination of daydreams and actual recurrent dreams from his childhood concerning the imagined murder of his father with an iron. Though the dreams evoke very differing emotions, both involve heat, as he notes he was 'daydreaming of luxurious holidays amidst actual dreams ... energy being used to burn, sunburn, eyes burning, dark sunglasses. [It is] essentially a young gay man's feeling of ecstasy and freedom'.
This painting was shown in 1980 in a one man exhibition at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham selected by Hugh Stoddart. In his text to accompany that exhibition Stoddart comments "Another important element in Hall's work is the intense domesticity of much that he deals with and, often, actually uses - " which, he goes on "has an overtone of intimacy, of vulnerability. (...) Anyone who sells newspapers will confirm that most of us like to invade other people's privacy - the more intimate the information the better. It is surprising how much hypocrisy this generates. One is fascinated but hung up on guilt: I think the powerful (and often adverse) reaction generated by Colin Hall's work is connected to this."
- Artwork Details: 43.7 x 37.8cm
- Material description: cotton, gesso, oil and acrylic
- Credit line: © the artist
- Theme: Figurative
- Medium: Painting
- Accession number: AC 3049