Melbourne artist Pam Hallandal’s early ambition was to be a sculptor, and she established an impressive reputation for her work in sculpture and ceramics. However, she decided to make drawing her chief focus from the mid-1960s, when she was engaged as teacher of drawing at Prahran Senior Technical College, later Prahran Institute of Technology and eventually the Victorian College for the Arts. She was an inspirational teacher and singular champion of drawing in art schools, fighting to keep drawing in the syllabus during the 1970s, when its status was under threat.
Hallandal’s background in sculpture gave her a strong interest in exploring form, space and structure, rather than surface and medium. Working mainly with charcoal, pastel and ink, many of these drawings are monumental and explore very complex spaces. She recorded her distinctive vision of the world and the life that takes place around her from prosaic details of suburban life to tragic and cataclysmic world events. Strong and expressive portraits, especially self-portraits, form an important aspect of her work.
While better-known for her drawings, Hallandal also produced woodcuts and linocuts, and these are included in this review exhibition.
Born in Melbourne in 1929, Hallandal studied at RMIT and at the Central School of Art in London before teaching at the George Bell School, Prahran Technical College and the Victorian College of the Arts. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions and was awarded the Dobell Drawing Prize in 1996 and 2009. Her work is held by state and regional galleries across Australia.