Tamar Halpern and Wendy White Shows in Chelsea
May 14th, 2010 by admin
I walked into D’Amelio Terras and was totally floored by Tamar Halpern’s work. To use a tired expression, they are a hot mess. It’s like a train wreck plowed through a dark room, and yes you must look at the carnage. The closer I looked at her work the more I saw a sisterhood with Wendy White. White has a show up now as well in Chelsea at Leo Koenig. Both lady’s shows are just one block from each other and they ROCK IT!
They don’t seem concerned with creating a pretty picture or resolving a piece; they’re going for visual impact. It’s gritty, but it’s not just thrown together. There’s a lot of thought and process is evident. They both construct paintings out of many carefully chosen elements; they’re really more like collages.
Color – they use it well. Their selective palette of black and other strong colors deliver punches. In this show, White at times uses controlled taped off planes of color. The painting above is a great example of how she’s able pull together all the component parts with a striking gradient of color that begins at the top left with cyan then sharply plummets down into a pointed orange. Love that little sliver of yellow on the right panel! Halpern, uses broad washes of intense color to enhance and further confuse what’s going.
That leads to the next similarity. You can’t really tell what the hell’s happening in their work. Halpern has images that are sometimes barely discernible, while White has letter forms that maybe spell something? They do eventually I quess, her titles reflect that. But I don’t think it’s really important to be able to read/see what either of them include in their paintings. It’s more about form.
Installation: as seen above, White’s paintings either hover about 1/4″ above the floor or are directly on the floor. For Halpern’s show the paintings are taped then tacked to the wall – not framed. Check out the first image at the top again…those are 3 individual strips of paper tacked to the wall. I think what both have achieved by presenting their work this way is accessibility. Almost like you’re in their studio – it’s a studio visit. Which gets me back to process. You don’t see what an artist does in their studio. You usually only see the final product. With these installations a door is opened. You feel more comfortable getting really up close and checking them out and seeing all the beautiful imperfections.
Note: This is a guest blog by New York based artist Jennifer Sanchez. Check her work out at www.miss-sanchez.com