Tamar Halpern, “Short Trip To Nowhere”
D’Amelio Terras, New York
April 17 – June 19, 2010
Tamar Halpern is exemplar and a progenitor of the “Howists” group of artists, who regard the object of their endeavor to be the best-suited practical method and medium–or media–of composition, for its achievement. The artworks already exist, the challenge is to arrive at the physical means for revealing them most truly and effectively.
I am making this up. Tamar is innocent of it.
After a hard day at work, this is what you want, “Yes.” The results of someone else’s wrestling with a rock face. An austerely violent pickaxe blow to the stone cliff distilled to its consequences. A dilapidated urban doorway cliff, and shuffling shoeprints, as colorful as a suited professional football team, like seeing stars, a short trip to nowhere.
Golden and pale pink. Black rack and further blur. I came back to the apartment and sat in a position that opened onto the artwork. I was grateful that she had troubled and committed her supreme faculties to this end. To me, paintings (prints, photos, what have you) speak. Perhaps that’s philistine, or at least unsophisticated, or less appropriate a relationship to have to visual art, but so be it.
Each additional way of modifying the work, the image, brings a new effect. One can be surprised by previously undreamt-of forms of mark. It’s elating and magnificent, unassumingly. Sometimes one is arrested momentarily by a passing sight: these are pictures of what have done that for one.
Whole populations use their time to make things that are stimulating to look at. Now, the materials, from the most limited individual detail to the overarching fully comprehensive, are netted from the world. Tamar compiles a surprising palate-array of hand motions, ink bottles, photographs, machinery and software functions, silkscreen panels, and shoes, among others, and employs them in the making of marks on strips of paper of the type intended to hold inkjet output. The result is great pleasure and fascination: information leading to the arrest of one’s attention, upon which it is transported to a holding area where it is held and holds in turn, and turning, learns, to fabulous effect.
-Richard Hell, 2010