Alison Hall first went to Italy 12 years ago while she was an art student at Hollins University. Traveling with her professors Bill White and Jan Knipe, she visited the chapel of St. Francis of Assisi in Umbria and saw for the first time the frescoes attributed to early Renaissance master Giotto di Bondone.
“In the winter in Italy it feels so medieval,” the Martinsville native said, but then going inside the spectacularly painted chapel, “it’s like ‘The Wizard of Oz’ in Technicolor.”
After that first tour of Italy, “I just wanted to make a life there somehow,” she said.
Now an art teacher herself, at Hollins and the University of Virginia, Hall’s gone back to Italy every summer, and visited both the St. Francis of Assisi chapel and the Arena Chapel in Padua, where Giotto also contributed frescoes.
The other four, “50 Great American Artists,” “John Cage: The Sight of Silence,” “Jean Helion: A Painter’s Journey in Life and Art,” and “Time and Indeterminacy in John Cage’s Legacy: Tyler Adams and Sabine Groschup,” all open Friday.
On display through May 11, “Pilgrimage” is Hall’s first museum show. It’s meant to evoke a chapel in its configuration, with a large painting opposite the main entrance to the regional gallery and three smaller drawings on the walls to each side, similar to how frescoes or stained glass windows would be placed.
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