Over her incredible forty-year career, Deborah Halpern has produced an extraordinary body of work traversing the mediums of sculpture, painting, pottery, glass blowing and printmaking. Through her numerous public sculptures, the artist has become a much-respected figure within the art world.
Featuring a colourful herd of whimsical creatures, Halpern’s new collection represents a return to her formative love of ceramics. Incarnating the artist’s characteristic spirit of experimentation and imagination, the sculptures and works on paper conjure a dreamscape of animated childhood fantasies and fairy tales. Yet despite this playful hue, they nonetheless represent a deep artistry and masterful manipulation of medium. Large, totemic figures adorned with hand-mixed glazes watch over wandering creatures and anthropomorphic busts with unblinking omniscient eyes. These surreal ceramic beings, excavated from Halpern’s eccentric mind, embody the irrationality of our contemporary world wherein conventional frontiers of logic and expectation are being breached by unimaginable human advancements and radical new ways of thinking. Reflecting on her enduring affiliation with Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, the artist says ‘I find the state of the world as mad as the Mad Hatter's tea party with the dormouse in the teapot, the hookah smoking caterpillar on the toadstool that Alice nibbles and the sea of tears that Alice swims in’. Conflating humanity and animality; culture and nature, Halpern’s hybridity of forms ultimately celebrates the contemporary condition of everything being possible.