Building on a reputation established in the United States, Tay Dall is one of South Africa’s leading modern artists. Her work has been shown in more than 100 exhibitions, is represented by more than 20 galleries, and is prized by thousands of international art collectors. Born in Cape Town, Dall began taking art classes at the age of 8, finally finishing her education with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Michaelis School of Art at the University of Cape Town. In 1988, she emigrated with her family to Los Angeles, where she worked in the film industry, studied computer graphics and began exhibiting her work in various venues in her free time. Her eminent success here led to a full-time career as an artist. Dall returned to South Africa permanently in 1995. She currently paints from her studio in Vermont.
Dall often draws from nature, trying to project a feeling of “inner truth, inner rhythm,” which might be inherent in her subject but not obvious to the naked eye. “It is this very notion of seeing beneath or allowing one’s own inner voice to comment on what one sees that encouraged me to manipulate my own vision onto the canvas and allow the viewer more room for individual interpretation,” she says.
Dall says that her style of painting was a gradual evolution of constant experimentation and re-evaluation, which, over time, changed into abstraction, away from its beginnings in figuration. One can see this if you compare her older works to her current pieces. “My style is defiantly recognizable but it changes and evolves constantly “she says. “In retrospect, my early work was far darker and there was less colour and I relied more on drawing from nature than from my own inner perceptions and imagination. When I moved to America, my work became brighter and more colourful. Upon returning to South Africa, my work went into a whole new dimension becoming more direct and bolder. My work now is more esoteric, leaving more to the viewer’s imagination.”
”Questioned on whether or not she thinks her work is relevant to the South African community, Dall says: “I believe I am a voice that expresses the way I see the community around me. As an artist, my work is reflective of the society in which I live. I feel and experience South Africa and this consciously and subconsciously penetrates my work. Even though my work is generally abstract, I am still portraying different levels of consciousness that may be obvious in some instances and esoteric in others. All aspects are a direct reflection of projection of the South African culture and community, as they make everyone feel and think about the relevant energies, tensions, moods and realities inherent in South Africa.”
For Dall, a successful exhibition is measured by the audience’s reaction and response to her work. If her art provokes a reaction, it is a successful show, she says, adding that she does not measure success from a sales point of view. “Although it is nice to make sales, I am more interested in waking people up and making them think, feel, and experience a different way of seeing the world. If something I have created affected them, that makes the exhibition a success. If they can’t get the images out of their minds when they go home, even if they don’t like the art itself, I feel as an artist that I have accomplished what I set out to do, to make an impression. She says.