What’s the relationship between an artist and her subject? In this film, artist Josephine Halvorson guides a video crew through an exhibition of her recent paintings—What Looks Back (2011)—at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan. Intimately exploring the detailed surfaces of her canvases like a roving eye, the camera evokes the conversational give-and-take between painter, object, and painting. The subjects of Halvorson’s works are often singular, overlooked objects—masked-over windows, weathered walls, defunct mechanical devices—that she paints in their original environments. For Halvorson, who completes works on location in a single day-long session, choosing a subject to paint is an extremely personal and contingent process. As she describes it, “encountering something in the world, an object, allows me to realize a painting that I have somehow already apprehended, even though I’ve never made it.” Traveling widely from her home in Brooklyn, Halvorson’s experiential process reaches outside the more common studio-based painting practices of New York City, taking her to train yards in Tennessee, a slaughterhouse in Iceland, and the English countryside. Featuring, in order of appearance, the works Generator (2011), The Heat Inside (2011), Tregardock (2011), Southern 992321 (2012), Grippers (2011), Drill Holes (2011), Steam Donkey Valve (2011), Hinges (2011), Carcass (2011), and Inlaid Stones (2011).
Josephine Halvorson (b. 1981, Brewster, Massachusetts) lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
CREDITS | New York Close Up Created & Produced by: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Editor: Brad Kimbrough & Joaquin Perez. Cinematography: Nicholas Lindner, Rafael Moreno Salazar, Andrew David Watson & Ava Wiland. Sound: Scott Fernjack & Nick Ravich. Associate Producer: Ian Forster. Production Assistant: Amanda Long & Tida Tippapart. Design: Open. Artwork: Josephine Halvorson. Additional Photography: Peter Buckley, Josephine Halvorson & Bára Sigurjónsdóttir. Thanks: Scott Briscoe, Michael Jenkins, & Sikkema Jenkins & Co. An Art21 Workshop Production. © Art21, Inc. 2012. All rights reserved.