ELSPETH HALVORSEN: An Intimate Cosmos
Catalogue for the 2013 PAAM exhibition.
Viewing Elspeth Halvorsen’s box constructions is a lot like a walk in the moonlight. What we know – or think – to be true in the hard brightness of daytime reality dissolves into an amorphous space of multiple possibilities and perspectives. Describing these constructions, Boston Globe art critic McQuaid wrote “a container becomes the state for an insinuating abstract narrative”. Halvorsen’s work is often about her artistic response to global and personal events, whether Tiananmen Square, September 11th (“The Whole World is Watching”) or the celebration of gay marriage.
“Utilizing formal elements that sometimes hint at surrealism, she constructs still, poetic worlds from her vocabulary of icons that include the ubiquitous suspended sphere – whether a moon, circle, egg, a windowshade toggle or mirrors, that imbue her environments, and an occasional female torso or animal form. Sand, metal, string and many other objects are often employed as well. Like her own artistic tarot deck, Halvorsen recombines these – and other – symbolic elements into visual statements that sometimes read like minimalist theatre settings – always with a powerful subtlety reminiscent of haiku.” Excerpt from the Berta Walker Gallery