"Sins and Sorrows" is a body of work inspired by a family member’s suicide. It features assemblages, sculpture and photography and explores the darkness of self-harm and depression. People who hurt themselves often believe they deserve punishment. While not exclusive to Christianity, the concept of suffering, and contrition, in order to atone for one’s sins is a fundamental precept. With a loose nod towards Christianity’s concept of sin, Halpern expresses her own take on the "Deadly Sins."
The sins of Pride, Greed, Wrath, Sloth, Envy, Gluttony and Vanity are presented in a variety of ways, regarding the materials used and her engagement with the piece. Some are performative and pertain to her personal experiences, while others relate explicitly to current events. For instance, the “Vanity” piece documents three different medical procedures, (acid wash, Botox, filler and rhinoplasty). The “Wrath” piece was created immediately following the massacre in Las Vegas. She shot the steel plate used in the assemblage with weapons similar to the ones used in the commission of mass shootings-- an AR-15 and a pistol. "Greed in the Garment Industry" expresses the ongoing issue of exploitation of workers in sweatshops and when she shows this piece at openings, she wears a dress of silk charmeuse printed with headlines from sweatshop disasters, examining her own, and consumers’ culpability in the ongoing mistreatment of garment workers. “White Pride” is inspired by the KKK and Nazis marching in Charlottesville and the President who said, "There were good people on both sides". While each sin is distinct, the grouping of sins is meant to be interpreted as one piece, expressing how the manufactured nature of sin is incorporated in the fabric of our lives.
There are other pieces in the show that highlight personal reactions and acts of contrition for our sins. These are our sorrows. Self-abuse can take many forms, via drugs, bulimia or razor blades. Inspired by their innate connection, Halpern pairs sin and sorrow in order to express the latent tragedy that real and perceived sin imposes upon us individually and collectively.
Sweet Little Double Suicide (Mixed Media)