Connecting art and people in Chatham-Kent


Bryan Halls, ​Psalm 91: Beneath His Wings, 2016



February 28 - April 14, 2018

Opening Reception:  Thursday March 1, 7pm

My work is a mandala I create in honor of my lord; every time I paint I feel an ecstasy similar to what monks feel when painting the cells of a monastery.  In the end I do not destroy the work; I become the caretaker of it until I can reveal it to the public.  I hope they can see God’s light through it like the sun through a stain glass window.

These images are painted white on a black background for one reason.  The background is black because I feel we are in dark days spiritually and ethically.  As human beings, we have lost the guidance of our lord.  The white that creates the image is the light, the word of the lord in all its glory.

All the canvases are stretched on 1.5” frames and painted with black and white acrylic, and my initials are painted in gold.  The images are first drawn in small scale, then drawn again on canvas-sized paper, and finally transferred onto the painted black background.  The image transferred onto the canvas is painted white creating a stunning contrast.

My paintings depict passages and people of the bible, Saints, stories, and leaders of Reformation, and aspire to inform and enlighten through the words of the lord.  These images may not be part of everyone’s religion, but they depict stories that are universal and can be appreciated by people from all walks of life.

- Bryan Halls

Bryan Halls was born in Woodstock, Ontario in 1978.  He attended the Toronto School of Art with the desire to learn the classical style of painting and sculpture, in order to have license to break the rules.  In his first year at the school he became the feature artist in the Catholic New Times.  However, Bryan would start to feel the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, act out, and ultimately by end of the second year at TSA he was expelled.  Rather than seeking medical attention he traveled throughout North America, unsuccessfully easing his pain.  His schizophrenia would ultimately catch up to him in August of 2001 when he had a nervous breakdown in Chatham, Ontario.  The doctors at the hospitals were against it, but Bryan attended The University of Windsor in September.  While attending U of W Bryan had another nervous breakdown on September 11th, 2001, and felt that there was no place in the world for art or artists within the new world order.  He dropped out of all his art classes and refused to paint or sculpt for the public for ten more years.

In 2011, after returning to Chatham, Ontario and another breakdown Bryan would finally listen to his doctors and go on long-term disability.  This is when his father bought supplies and encouraged him to paint, for he felt that this would be a great outlet for Bryan’s pain and suffering.  During the 2012 mental health week he would show two paintings at the Mental Health Network art exhibition.  To his surprise he was encouraged by the crowd to keep showing his work, and creating art once again became a pivotal part of his life.  He currently lives in Chatham and creates as much as he can, and it has become the one thing that makes him truly happy.