Jennifer Halvorson’s distinctive glass artwork in her show “A New Look at Glass” at the Edna Carlsten Gallery cultivated nostalgia and serenity in the minds of its viewers.
Halvorson said her artwork focused on ideas of the past and how they have sculpted who we have become.
“We are who we are now because of past interactions with people who were close to us,” Halvorson said.
Halvorson transformed an array of items like forks, glass jars, coat hangers and other common household items into works of art. These objects were combined in unique ways to evoke particular emotions in the audience.
“Even though everything may not make sense, there is a poetic connection to these objects,” Halvorson said.
“People will ask questions like, how are these objects coming together? Why is there dirt inside pillows? Why are the curtains made of burlap? Why are there quilted strawberry stems?” she said.
Halvorson’s artwork weaved in the idea of home as it is prevalent in her work.
“Whether you travel or go off to school people need a place to call home. They fill their homes with objects that bring them comfort. We set up something that we feel connected to,” Halvorson said.
Jon Chapman, the curator for “A New Look at Glass”, annexed a unique perspective to Halvorson’s artwork focusing on the region it came from.
“I am from Brooklyn in New York, so Midwest values are foreign and almost fairytale-like to me. Jen’s work has a connection to the Midwest. I admire the subtleties in family and home values,” Chapman said.
Halvorson’s work encompassed Midwestern ideals that many viewers would relate to. “I was curious to see how students from the Midwest related and associated with the objects,” Chapman said.
Chapman searched for an artist’s work that spanned a period of time in his or her life.
“I wanted to show a complete scope of what an artist does and Jen’s work offered that,” Chapman said.
Chapman selected Halvorson’s work because it was popular among students.
“In the classes I teach, a lot of the students were interested in Jen’s work,” Chapman said.
“My favorite artwork was the glass casting of a paper bag. It is very simple and I liked its clarity,” said Anna Lehner, an art major with a 3D emphasis.
Caren Heft, the director at the Edna Carlsten Gallery, said Halvorson used a lot of nostalgic items that would remind a viewer of objects they would find at their grandparents home. Heft also said Halvorson used a combination of materials with glass.
“She does tatting, which is like crocheting, and combines it with glass,” Heft said.
Along with Midwestern values, Halvorson weaved topics of gender into her work.
“Jennifer said she was not trying to do this, but there is a strong gender dialog in her work,” Heft said. “For a while, men were painters and dealt with art while women created crafts. There is a question about what can be considered art and what is considered craft. She is joining the fray between craft and art.”
“A New Look at Glass” will be in the Edna Carlsten Gallery until April 14.