Naomi Austin is a local sculptor whose scenic work has appeared at the Minnesota Opera, Children's and Guthrie theaters, Rain Forest Cafe, the Warner Brothers movie Grumpy Old Men, Como Park Zoo, and other venues including Denali National Park visitors center, and the San Diego Natural History Museum. Her sculptures have appeared in several group shows in Northeast Minneapolis.
"The Hartberdier" is a playful juxtaposition of late nineteenth century storefront figures, post-renaissance painting, and medieval christian iconography.
It is a work about transformation, inspired by the painter Pontormo's "Portrait of a Halberdier"(1528-1530). The elongated style of this iconic mannerist painting, and soulful eyes of the sitter, gives the young man portrayed a deer-like quality. His metamorphosis to a stag or hart, recalls the iconography of the popular medieval Saint Hubert, a young man of noble birth, whose vision of a stag led to his transformation to a saint. The young halberdier becomes the hart, and his halbert turns to Hubert's cross. The two dimensional painting transforms into three dimensional sculpture, done in a style reminiscent of the storefront figure. The popular nineteenth century commercial art form is now reborn into fine art.