New Windsor, NY
Outlooks: Josephine Halvorson presents Measures, three new site-specific works that respond to distinct environments in Storm King’s five-hundred-acre landscape, and are inspired by the natural and artistic landmarks that surround them. Halvorson’s large-scale painted wood rulers—or “measures,” as the artist has titled them—are equal parts art object and perceptual tool. While they reference familiar methods of measuring time and space, their units are painted by hand, emphasizing the human scale inherent in the artworks.
In Storm King’s southernmost Maple Room, where more than twenty maple trees are planted at uniform distances around the perimeter of a field, Halvorson has installed a twelve-foot sculpture, with Roman numerals painted in metallic blacks over a background of luminous whites. The rhythm of the trees reminded the artist of a clock, and the vertical installation connotes a sundial, a tool to measure time. In the North Woods, Halvorson has sited a trompe l’oeil sculpture that camouflages with the colors of surrounding tree trunks. The full length of the sculpture—twenty-four feet—is marked in red paint along one face. In the South Fields is the largest of the three sculptures, at thirty-six feet long. Rendered in yellow and black paint, this work resembles a traditional yardstick resting horizontally on the grass. It measures intimate scale but also distant views, seeming to redefine the size of mountains, tall trees, and monumental artworks.
Halvorson, whose artistic practice frequently takes as its subject the relationships between the self and the physical world, explains, “I like the way that art serves as a perceptual measure—of the conditions for experience and of one’s own body. I want these painted sculptures to heighten an individual’s curiosity of the environment, and their place within it. Storm King is a special site where one can understand scale in many ways: through distance and proximity, duration and seasonality, and of course history, of both art and nature.”
Josephine Halvorson is the fourth artist to participate in the Outlooks series, which invites one emerging or mid-career artist each year to create a temporary work of art specifically for Storm King’s site. This installation is organized by Curator Nora Lawrence.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website