George Photo MA.jpg

ARTIST STATEMENT

 

George Halvorson’s art reveals an everyday life in which the viewer is invited to pause and reflect.

 

Offering moments of tranquility, he employs the disciplines of his design background and its classic elements in creating his carefully considered compositions.

 

While the world may feel consumed by uncertainty and doubt, George Halvorson’s art rejects cynicism. His paintings offer a counter narrative of optimism and hope, recognizing a shared humanity within ordinary moments. He embraces the occasions when life is good  and celebrates what is to be human with a voice of kinship and empathy. His finely wrought paintings strive to portray strength in the commonplace, and gratitude in the small moments.

 

Graphic clarity provides reassuring balance within Halvorson’s work. Intentionally controlling the path of the eye’s focus, the artist takes his viewers on a journey within his paintings. The subtle use of color, pattern, and the precise placement of objects direct the gaze within a hierarchy of importance. He works to infuse his work with a sense of stability, security, and comfort through his mastery of graphic balance and visual control. 

 

Using a palette of vibrant and evocative hues, Halvorson works to capture a particular mood and the essence of each moment through a synthesis of color, light, and texture. His discerning use of single-source light creates dimension and contrast, while hearkening back to the Old Masters. The texture he employs is both visual and tactile. His selective use of pattern and a softly finished surface add a playful personality to the story.

 

With a wink, Halvorson reminds us that the small moments in life aren’t so minor after all. Much of life is lived in small moments. Miss them and one risks missing the lessons, wisdom, and happiness they offer. 

                                                                                                                   

ARTIST CV

 

GEORGE HALVORSON

American, b.1952

Lives and works in Minneapolis MN

EDUCATION

1974-1975     BFA Minneapolis College of Art and Design

1973-1974     California College of the Arts

1971-1972      University of Minnesota

 

RECENT EXHIBITIONS

2022                 Paintings+, Group Show

                           Douglas Flanders Fine Art, Minneapolis MN

2021                 New 22, Solo Show 

                           Douglas Flanders Fine Art, Minneapolis MN

PROFESSIONAL

Executive Board Experience

1997-1999      Board of Directors Member

                           Minneapolis College of Art and Design         

1998-1999      Ad Hoc Professor 

                           Minneapolis College of Art and Design

2001-2003     Board of Directors Member 

                           Penumbra Theatre, St. Paul MN

Professional Work Experience & Recognition

1976-2016       Art Director/Creative Director 

                     Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Chicago

1976-2016      Numerous National/International awards

                           Clio Awards, Cannes Film Festival, and other.

                

COLLECTIONS

Private Collection, New York NY

Private Collection, Baltimore MD

Private Collection, Palm Springs FL

Private Collection, Phoenix AZ

Private Collection, Los Angeles CA

Private Collection, Minneapolis MN

Private Collection, Saint Paul MN

Private Collection, Park City UT

THE WORK OF GEORGE HALVORSON 

By Pamela Hill Nettleton*

The people in George Halvorson's world know something. We wish we knew it too. 

It looks like fun to live there, dancing barefoot and striking yoga poses in rooms wallpapered in patterns so obstreperous they could make a statue weep, rendered in Halvorson's rich and measured palette of carefully balanced colors.

He must like the real world very much to celebrate it so marvelously in this imagined one. He clearly takes great visual pleasure in what he sees in the world around him, and shares his treasures with us: the rumpled folds of a blouse the outline of light on the curve of a chair, the echo of purple from these flowers in this pot clear across the room to those flowers on that wall.

It feels rare to find male subjects like his, men who appear approachable and kind, nice guys who are not grandiose or threatening (how dangerous can a man floating in a pink-and-white inflatable donut be?) And look at what Halvorson catches them doing; heading into the Waffle House for pancakes, scanning the campground horizon with binoculars, contemplating a city view. 

But his women. These paintings glow with a palpable appreciation of the wisdom and value of women. His wear compassionate, intuitive, and curious expressions; their figures are graceful and languid, with long hands and lanky, Modigliani lines. From under wide-brimmed beach hats, they look into our eyes, teasing us with promises of sharp-witted insights and nuances if we only join them. Halvorson makes us want to. He is a keen observer, a man who understands the myriad meanings of an arched eyebrow on a woman's face. She is amused. She is intrigued.  And she is nobody's fool. 

Halvorson frames the art of everyday life with uncompromisingly elegant composition. Nothing is accidental here.  The placement of figures and objects achieves exacting order, structure, and balance. He draws from his classical art training at the University of Minnesota, California College of the Arts, and Minneapolis College of Art and Design, as well as from his four decades of experience as creative director of world-class advertising and marketing design.This makes his creations deeply intentional and subtly strategic. The technical skill on display is precise, practiced, and well-schooled. Halvorson applies color in multiple thin layers, delivering an intense opacity and presence without a visible brushstroke. Minus extraneous bulk, the surface appears velvety, the colors flat and smooth. His treatment of skin and the light that falls on it is exquisitely rendered into polished luminosity. There is pure pleasure in just looking.

In Halvorson's hands, highly saturated colors in improbable combinations that should not work together, somehow do.  His colors and his paintings are not wallflowers.They demand we pay attention to the seemingly inconsequential moments in our lives that are, in fact, the central stuff of life. The spirituality in this philosophy is prescient. Don't  miss this, Halvorson tells us. Stop and see its beauty, its symmetry, its delight.

A man sits on a park bench watching a train pass in The 1:47 Art Show. He could complain about the clatter or the traffic interruption, but instead, he takes a front row seat to witness it. He honors the art form rolling through the neighborhood. every afternoon and acknowledges the power int he perhaps desperate voices of the graffiti artists. It's a little funny. And a lot profound.

A walk in the woods is a solitary thing - not very dramatic. But in The Falling something magical materializes. The forest reaches out to its preoccupied visitor and soothes her with a loving message from the universe. There are caring hearts in unexpected places.  

In Greetings, a woman stands isolated on a freeway bridge, her red coat a brilliantant burst of color against a blue sky. She lefts her had in a wave to the total strangers passing at 65 miles an hour below. She will never meet them; they will never know her name. But they share a longing to connect with other gumnans, even at a distance; to be acknowledged, even for mere seconds. She waves to us; Halvorson waves to. Hello. I see you.

This is profoundly humane and benevolent imagery. Halvorson is grateful, and it shows. There is beauty, joy , and humor int life, and he is good at spotting those things. He does not point to our flaws. He shares our daily lives.

With more than a little sagacity. Sometimes it appears that to be important, art must be ugly or violent. But optimism is no insignificant things, and art that has grace and makes us feel hope has achieved something elusive and critical. Many paths to contentment take aim but fall short. Halvorson has succeeded.

The small moments of life aren't so minor, through Halvorson's lens. Life is those moments; miss them and we miss the lessons, the wisdom, the happiness that we came here to learn. The big stuff is hidden in the little stuff.  Halvorson reveals it.  

It's right here, if you just look.

* Pamela Hill Nettleton writes about the arts and teaches communication studies at the University of St. Thomas.