For the past 20 years, Gregory Halpern has been photographing in and around his hometown of Buffalo, New York. In the simplest sense, these pictures represent Halpern’s observations of the exterior world—the results of looking closely at his surroundings over many years.
But these pictures are also about an interior world. Although rooted in the “lyrical documentary” tradition, Halpern’s work reaches beyond realism, into the poetic and the tangential. They are the intuitive observations of a particular sensibility and mood, and a celebration of a strange kind of splendor in the everyday. In a sense, they create a space of their own, a realm Halpern describes as “documentary surrealism.”
In addition to his photographs, Halpern has made a series of sculptures of modest houses inspired by the Buffalo landscape. Viewers can circle them and thus experience the landscape from various points of view, much as Halpern has over the years. The interiors of these houses contain abstract, sublime images of natural phenomena. For Halpern, these works are as much about architecture as they are about the interiority of life and the ultimate unknowability of others.
Halpern encourages viewers to construct their own narratives and invites us to be active readers. In that sense, it can be said that this work is less about documentation than it is a study of small enigmas.
This exhibition was organized by the photographer with Lisa Kurzner and Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell.