By Zoe Bernardi, Staff Writer
The newest exhibit at Glickman Library features an iphone photography series by local artist Margo Halverson, a professor at Maine College of Art (MECA) in the graphic design program. In the exhibit called “If I had Known,” Halverson’s artist statement reads, “Moments are up for grabs. It is time that I look curiously at to recognize loss and simultaneously become lost… These glimpse, taken with an iphone always in my pocket, remind me I was there facing front. I was awake, it is all fragile, it is beautiful and never too much.”
The show has a collection of 45 photographs that feature small moments in Halverson’s life, showing places she has been, her children and dog. As stated on the USM art department website, “Margo Halverson’s large scale photographs were made with an iPhone… It asks the question ‘Are we living well?’ Small moments of parenthood, partnership, and family–children sleeping, playing outside, at the beach, making dinner, bathing, checking on the dog–the juncture the viewer imagines between the photographs as well as the medium pull the images together as a truly contemporary family portrait. Have a self conscious diaristic quality that records the ephemeral moments of domesticity.”
Halverson has taught at MECA for over twenty years. Margo also owns a graphic design company called Alice Design Communications, and has worked designing books covers.
After walking through the exhibit, it’s noticeable how different Halverson’s artwork is compared to the last show in Glickman. Her photos are raw and look unedited, as if every photo was taken effortlessly. The dog wandering away, the children not looking at the lens, show that the pictures are candid. They embody the theme of being small moments.
Denise Froehlich, the current USM and Maine Museum of Photographic Arts (MMPA) director, and curator of this show, said that the show took over a year and a half to create. Halverson had over 57,000 photos, together they narrowed it down to 68, and then to 45 pictures in total. Froehlich and Halverson are colleagues and have known each other for a long time. Their children go to the same school, and the two of them have worked on various projects together. When asked about how the show was created, whether the artist was chosen first or the concept, Froehlich had said that every show is different, the way the artist is chosen, either by application or chosen by her. She chose Halverson first and then created the show alongside her.
“Everyone knows her bookwork, not her photographs, I wanted her photos to come to life,” Froehlich said.
Halverson said that she had never had a plan for this show, she was just photographing what was around her at the time.
“I document everywhere, not consciously with an intent of making a good photograph and I’m definitely not photographing consciously for a series, it just works that way because of what I care about, notice, and how I see the frame and light,” she said. ”What was very deliberate was choosing which images would be in the show and what would be to the right and left of each one.”
“If I had Known” began with thousands of photos to edit put together into one project, Halverson said. She credited Froehlich with her help in the project.
“She helped me see the image anew, what each held and connoted in terms of ‘it’s not about a backyard, but it’s about vulnerability’ for example,” said Halverson.
From the photographs she captured, Halverson picked out the one of her daughter as one that stood out to her.
“A photograph I’ve always responded to is the girl, my daughter, with the pink western hat in the bed, cartoons are on tv, a fencing uniform is hung to dry in a sunny window,” she said. “So much is in the narrative, yet it’s nothing but a moment in a specific and familiar place. Though it’s a moment that is graceful and noticed, recorded, and now, years later a part of ‘If I had Known.’”
“I believe in the urgency, fragility, and pondering stance photography’s role can play. Frame it, record it, tuck it away because it is more than what you see, it is about being present and caressing time,” said Halverson. “I think they ask more of the viewer, like the moments ask of me. I hope each wall, each chapter, asks the viewer to pay attention, be aware, it’s all passing.”
“If I had Known” will be on the fifth floor Glickman Library from Oct. 25 to Jan. 27, 2019. Halverson will be having an artist talk and reception on Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.