The George Eastman Museum presents the works of photographer Gregory Halpern (American, b. 1977). The exhibition, 19 winters / 7 springs features approximately 30 photographs and photo-sculptures from Halpern’s latest project, 19 winters / 7 springs. Over the past two decades Halpern has received international recognition for an influential body of work that has forged new directions for photography rooted in the documentary tradition.
19 winters / 7 springs contends with the idea of Halpern’s hometown of Buffalo, New York, and the features that give it definition—its human and animal life, its architecture and landscape, its weather, and its light. Halpern, born and raised in Buffalo, has lived in Rochester since 2009. This exhibition plots the cyclical nature of time and the passage of seasons, but Halpern’s photographs also register both the visual evidence of history and the particularity of life in the present. Although these different temporalities pulse through the work, what it means to dwell in a particular place is its central concern, and portraiture anchors the project: portraits of houses, young adults, animals, and objects that seem to face a world arranged and deranged by the camera.
The photographs in 19 winters / 7 springs were made throughout Western New York and beyond during the past two decades. Halpern’s practice emerges from careful, extended observation of the world and a sensitive engagement with the people he photographs. The pictures and the relationships forged between them also approach the surreal, the dreamlike, the enigmatic. Through Halpern’s photography, the appearance of everyday reality becomes both volatile and marvelous.
For Halpern, no hard-and-fast boundary separates photographic objectivity from a more elastic idea of representational truth. This installation invites consideration of interior worlds, but also speaks to the limits of photographs to describe their subjects beyond their surfaces. In addition to presenting pictures on the gallery’s walls, Halpern has created a group of photo-sculptures, called Eclipse Houses, uniting inner with outer space. These features speak to the limits of photographs to describe their subjects beyond their surfaces. The exteriors display the facades of residential architecture, while their exposed interiors are lined with photographs of total solar eclipses. These alignments of celestial bodies resonate with the fleeting encounters pictured in Halpern’s photographs of people and places: something is inevitably obscured, while another vision becomes possible.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Halpern will present an artist’s talk at the George Eastman Museum’s Dryden Theatre on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 6 p.m. Following his talk, visitors are welcome to visit his exhibition in the Project Gallery. Galleries will be open until 8 p.m.
The 19 winters / 7 springs exhibition was originally organized by the Bidwell Foundation for Transformer Station, Cleveland, Ohio. The exhibition is generously sponsored by Tim Wilson. For details, visit eastman.org/halpern.
Gregory Halpern : 19 winters / 7 springs
September 16, 2023 – March 3, 2024
George Eastman Museum
900 East Avenue
Rochester, NY 14607