Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Arches Oil Paper, Oil Paint, Pastel
Gallery: CSULB School of Art. Gatov Gallery West
This week I was very fortunate to meet the remarkable artist Helen Werner Cox. Her exhibit caught my eye immediately, and I knew I wanted to do this weeks artist conversation with her. Helen is from Ithaca New York, she lived there till she was 18 years old, when she went to Lawson University School of Fine Arts.The East Coast climate was too much for her and she has lived in Long Beach for the past 28 years of her life. She said she has been “holding crayons and pencils since before she can remember”. She was a Middle School Library Media Teacher for many years, but is now back at CSULB as a Graduate Student in the MFA Drawing and Painting program. Additionally, she is very interested in reading and is passionate about gardening, she even has gardens in both her front and back lawn.
Her work has a very strong focus on drawing. She discussed how all of her work has a very figurative track meaning she likes to focus on people and models. All of her pieces have tons of energy and she borrows techniques from futurists. Some of her work are monochromatic, but some have warm, cool and complimentary colors as well. Most of the lines represent present motion. Helen tried to create energy and structural lines through each piece.Every line is very sinuous and a majority of lines curve. She uses chemically treated paper, and starts with oil paints, then covers with pastels.
Her exhibit is based off of Carousels. The carousels symbolize and are a metaphor for society. As a society we go in circles, and keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Helen worked on this project for a year and 3 months, and filled 2 full sketch books in this time as she traveled and sketched antique carousels all over California.Carousels are something that people have seen their whole life, and that helps embody the metaphor for the circles our society is going in.
Personally, I thought her work was remarkable. I genuinely thought these paintings of carousels belongs in a museum or hung up for everyone to admire, not just in a small exhibit at a University. Our society is known for repeating history and not making progress in some aspects of life. I do believe the carousels symbolize society in a plethora of ways and she executed the emotions of the different horses of the carousel very well. I think the carousel also can relate to my life, as at time I seem to make the same mistakes over and over. Additionally, life can become a routine and everything seems to go in receptive circles. Helen is not only an amazing artist but such a kind hearted beautiful woman and I can not wait to see what the future has in store for her.