A New Coat for an Old Ceremony


Highlight is pleased to present En Ny Drakt For En Gammel Seremoni | A New Coat for an Old Ceremony, its first solo exhibition of work by Norwegian artist, Haavard Homstvedt.

 The exhibition is open from February 6, through March 15, 2014, with an opening reception for the artist on February 6th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

 En Ny Drakt For En Gammel Seremoni | A New Coat for an Old Ceremony, brings together three concurrent aspects of Homstvedt’s practice; painting, sculpture and drawing.  Homstvedt’s “remnant paintings” act as palimpsests in that he has utilized the oil from previous paintings to create new works that are comprised of many, many layers. Each layer can take months to dry before another can be applied, thus this body of work represents not only an unconventional, residual method of painting but can also be understood as a meditation on and measurement of the lapse of time. In this sense, each painting contains many others within it, and therein the memories and traces of what it was throughout its various stages of becoming.

 Homstvedt’s bronze sculptures take on several perspectives and potential functions depending on the angle from which one approaches them. In his recent piece, Face, Rock, Moon (2013), we see just this kind of simultaneity at play. This disjointed, figurative shape exploits the inherent qualities of the bronze, creating an illusion of a stone surface, which is then formed into the likeness of a face. Face, Rock, Moon also includes an artificial light source, subverting the anti-functionality of the quintessential sculptural object. In its uncanny ability to be at once bronze bust, moon-like rock formation and an unusual, abstracted kind of lamp, Face, Rock, Moon defies simplistic categorization, delving instead into the boarder between the emotive and the restrained. Another work in bronze, the exhibition’s title piece, En Ny Drakt For En Gammel Seremoni | A New Coat for an Old Ceremony, droops diagonally on the wall. The sculpture, like Face, Moon, Rock, is multi-faceted in its ability to depict a portrait of a bust while also mimicking the texture of fabric. At its lower right hand corner unraveling threads stain the wall and the floor below. This piece also includes a performative element, as it is completed on site with the application of a layer of paint, drawing attention to the cermony of making and decoding painting.

 Homstvedt’s “territory drawings,” take the traditional portrait format as a blueprint, which he then transforms into a gestural, exacting and painterly surface that nonetheless is shaped and confined by its rectangular frame. Based on found black and white photos of bygone household names, the painted likeness is then obscured and made anonymous, serving as a map for variations in linear compositions. When considered in juxtaposition to one another, these subliminal, formal variations reveal, creating a language of sorts that allows viewers to navigate from one to the other. Through their interplay these drawings serve both as a screen and magnifier for their underlying motif.

 Homstvedt was born in Lorenskog, Norway, and is based in New York and Oslo. He received his BFA from RISD in 2000 and his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2003.  His work has been exhibited Galleri Riis (Oslo and Stockholm), Galerie Anne de Villepoix (Paris), Art Unlimited at Art Basel and Perry Rubenstein Gallery (New York). His work is included in the collections of Yale University Art Gallery, FRAC Auvergne, The National Gallery of Norway, SKMU Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, The Hort Collection, The Singer Collection, and The Sixt Collection.