Ted Halkin

Pro Grafica Gallery

The Pro Grafica Gallery showed the drawings of Ted Halkin. It was a remarkable group of works characterized by sparkle and dash. This is said in the light of Halkin's earlier work, such as the relief paintings of the 1950s, which were figurative and illustrative of his own private world of mythology; the sculpture constructions were an outgrowth of the reliefs and then the abstract (although still highly evocative) laminated wood sculpture from the 1960s. His most recent works are a series of as yet unexhibited paintings of which here recent drawings from the last eight months are indicative. Over a 15 year span his work has become increasingly abstract although always suggestive and evocative. These drawings exemplify the viability and resilience of this artist.

Graphite, colored pencil, ink link have all been used—relatively simple means. The pastel shadings of colored pencils, mixed and overlaid or blended with the subtlety of the silver grey gauze of the graphite (or in some, a sure, unwavering inked line) or the nuances of graphite as it picks up a textured surface in rubbed areas or, equally shadowy, the transfer of images; or it may enclose the form of structures which shift visibly between the plausible and the implausible. All of this is done with a lightness of touch and a “control” so deft that we are unaware of it and it enables him to deal with conventions in such way that we view the image as both picture in the traditional sense and as line, shape, shadings, etc., which preserve the importance of the surface.

His experience with the surface in his reliefs and with the actual building of his sculpture are now mingled with the conventions of painting, which necessitates our acceptance as the initial act in our experience. The detachment with which these drawings were accomplished allows the seriousness and importance of high comedy to permeate each one.

Whitney Halstead