• Artist
1979 (age 39-40) Los Angeles, California, USA
Brooklyn, New York, USA


Education Edit

MFA, Columbia University, New York (2005)

BFA, College of Santa Fe, New Mexico (2003)



Tamar Halpern’s paintings utilize photography, collage, and ink-jet printing to build layered surfaces combining graphic elements and more atmospheric imagery. Photography plays an essential role in Halpern’s studio, capturing simple visual information available in her immediate environment — walls, floors, water, textiles, a cat, a screen, the work itself — in an improvisational and nondiscriminatory manner that acknowledges the subjective nature of photography, while further actuating the fragmentary and non-specific nature of circulated images.

Halpern’s works embrace an additive process that is decidedly painterly. Her signature techniques — especially those working on photo paper — are present, albeit as collage, along with numerous other printing processes and more physical gestures, generating a palpable tension between the flatness of digital images and the plasticity of painting. The process of layering defies conventional use of representational space; Halpern’s personal experiences, her temporal and visual point of view, collapse into a single, ever-present, and shifting surface, a record of the acts and moments that took place in its making.

Halpern frequently makes allusions to music, evoking an acoustic space that depends on a continuous present moment, like improvisational jazz. The title of her most recent exhibition at On Stellar Rays, My Voice at the Pace of Drifting Clouds, is appropriated from a song by Merzbow, the stage name of Japanese noise musician Masami Akita. Merzbow is known for his complex recording and fusion of analog and digital sound samples, described as compositions of residue, waste, or feedback noise. Although Halpern is working with a visual language, the process is similar, surmounting the divide between the digital and analog — the mechanical and the natural — opening the possibility that perhaps amid the dense and often overwhelming chatter of day-to-day information, an impartial attentiveness may offer patterns, beauty, ideas, new potential.

Tamar Halpern’s recent solo exhibitions include Mier Gallery (2016); On Stellar Rays (2015); Office Baroque, Antwerp, Belgium (2013/2012); Triple V, Paris, France (2013); Galeria Pedro Cera, Lisbon, Portugal (2012); Egeran Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey (2012); D’Amelio Terras, New York, NY (2011).

Group exhibitions include Galeria Carles Taché, Barcelona, Spain (2016); Koenig & Clinton, New York, NY (2014); Elizabeth Dee, New York, NY (2013); Callicoon Fine Arts, New York, NY (2013); White Columns, New York, NY (2013/2010/2009/2008); Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel (2010); Greater New York, MoMA/PS1, Queens, NY (2010); The Knight’s Move, curated by Fionn Meade, Sculpture Center, Queens, NY (2010); Which Witch is Which?, curated by Ajay Kurian, White Flag, St. Louis, MO (2010); On Stellar Rays, New York, NY (2009).

Quotes Edit

  1. "I used to work for a traditional photographer and I would spend hours in the darkroom building multiple developers, testing paper, and things like that, but I don’t really fit in with that kind of photography. So I started creating compositions using photographs on the computer. I wanted to create photography in the same way that the musicians...make their music and not repeat anything that had already been done; I wanted to find my own way. My way of working straddles both photography and painting, and because painting is both an additive and subtractive process, I take it step by step. It’s a collage of layers between mediums, yet the images are photographic as whole. The way I use color, certain layers have more focus as though it were a photograph, the information blends and gets confusing, but again, it’s about the feeling not really the purpose." —Interview Magazine, February 23, 2015

Links Edit

  1. Amongst the Clouds, Interview Magazine, February 23, 2015