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New Work, NY, United States of America born 1938

Self-portrait 1973 Place made: Kent, Ohio, United States of America
Materials & Technique: glass, glass

Primary Insc: Incised at top: "19873" incised l.c., "xxix"
Dimensions: 39.9 h x 24.1 w x 8.3 d cm
Acknowledgement: Crafts Board of the Australia Council Collection 1980
Accession No: NGA 82.2323
Subject: Collection: The Crafts Board of Australia Council collection of Australian and International decorative and design arts, acquired 1982.

Henry Halem works with a variety of glassmaking techniques in order to elicit the power of the material. His work has moved from the abstract to the figurative, but is unified in its dependence on the particular physical qualities of glass, whether flat and polished or colourless and rough-surfaced. This work in cast glass was made after May 4, 1970, when four students demonstrating against the Vietnam War were killed at Kent State University in Ohio. Halem was then head of the glass department at that university. The work, a self-portrait, expresses the anguish of that period by using glass in a way to suggests traditional funerary statuary.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2016
Author: Dr Robert Bell AM - Senior Curator Decorative Arts and Design