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Josephine Halvorson, Tregardock, 2011, oil on linen, 19 x 15".

Josephine Halvorson

Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Josephine Halvorson, Tregardock, 2011, oil on linen, 19 x 15".

Josephine Halvorson’s small oils of archaic machines and overlooked domestic and industrial surfaces channel the lost tradition of American still life—a genre ghettoized, even in its late-nineteenth-century heyday, as “novelty art.” Like her precursors John Peto and William Harnett, whose trompe l’oeil confections depicted pistols and hanging game, old books and musical instruments, Halvorson creates tightly cropped registrations of the world at literal arm’s length, mining a tangible, profoundly sensate landscape of material things. An ode to Americana—or better, Americanana, as Katy Siegel dubbed her 2010 show in the gallery at Hunter College, where Halvorson’s Cabinet, 2009, resonated with the likes of Robert Gober’s barnacle-encrusted butter churn—Halvorson’s work likewise and quite differently tends toward abstraction (and to a utilitarian vernacular of Shaker

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