Portal to Another Time and Place
Australia born 1957
Portal to Another Time and Place 2005
Ceramic, Steel, Concrete
A one-time cabaret artist, Deborah Halpern grew up in a richly creative milieu. Her father Artur, a Polish émigré, and mother Sylvia, who was born in Japan but spent time in China and England before coming to Australia, were prominent members of the legendary Potters Cottage founded in Warrandyte in 1958 to promote hand-made Australian ceramics.
Halpern was strongly influenced by her parents but also trained as a painter at the Caulfield Institute of Technology. In the artist’s own words: ‘I grew up surrounded by potters so…was always making colourful, whimsical and funky pieces of pottery’.
In the late 1980s, Halpern began to make large-scale sculpture, playfully surreal in style, decorated with mythical or imaginary motifs rendered in mosaic tiled surfaces. Her largest work, Angel (1988), a commission for the National Gallery of Victoria, was formerly installed in the Gallery’s St Kilda Road moat but was relocated in 2006 to Birrarung Marr on the bank of the Yarra River.