Terri Hallman | Moving Forward

Untitled 706-14, dry pigment on paper, 30 x 35
Untitled 706-14, dry pigment on paper, 30 x 35
By Gussie Fauntleroy

Lush green foliage and bright flowers sway in a gentle breeze below the balcony of Terri Hallman’s second-floor studio outside Houston, TX, and the artist is starting to think she likes the idea of staying in this place a while. She’s been working in the garden, and for the first time in her 45 years, her thumbs are turning green from something other than pigments.

Hallman’s life has been one of movement, both geographically and artistically. The stimulation and challenge of new places, mediums, and methods has always invited her to shake off any hint of staleness and try new things. But there’s clearly a counterforce at work as well. Her lively, richly hued, visually playful paintings are almost always anchored in the straight-on stare of the human face, with its unchanging qualities of quiet observation and subtle vulnerability. This odd equilibrium contributes, no doubt, to people’s strong attraction to Hallman’s art, which is collected internationally and represented by galleries here and abroad. Now the contradictory concepts of movement and stillness are beginning to find balance in the artist’s life as well.

Only three activities stand out in Hallman’s memory as she looks back on her childhood in small towns in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Gymnastics and horseback riding were satisfying outlets for a painfully shy and introverted girl. And when she wasn’t in motion, she had a pencil in her hand. She drew constantly, honing her skills at realistic rendering, even enjoying a phase of meticulously re-creating the detailed texture of leather and wood. Perhaps surprisingly, considering the vibrancy of her current work, Hallman didn’t venture into working in color until she was almost 30…

Featured in May 2007

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