Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: oil paint, pastel, water-based materials (crayons, color pencils), ink, wood, screen, marker, paper
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Instagram: (no Instagram)
This week I had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Helen Werner Cox, a graduate student in the School of Art’s Drawing and Painting Program. Helen is from a small town called Trumansburg, which is just outside of Ithaca, New York. She lived in Trumansburg until she was eighteen years old and even described herself as a “little country girl.” Helen has several interests outside of the art world, such as gardening and puzzles. She enjoys reading very much and does not watch tv at all. Helen went even further to share that she has been under a lot of stress recently and has become obsessed with a game called “Dots.” Her artwork stresses the idea of chaos and how society is trapped on a circular path, or on a carousel. Society continues to make the same mistakes and goes nowhere in life. Helen explained how while living a healthy life, a person goes in a spiral course and every time he or she is in the circle, they learn something new. However, society is stuck on a circle and although technology develops, it bothers her that we are not evolving emotionally.
Helen utilizes a variety of materials, such as oil paint, pastel, and water-based materials (crayons and color pencils). Ink, wood, screen, marker, and paper are also involved in her various pieces of work. Although the formal qualities differ depending on the piece, almost every artwork has one thing in common, it is a painting or drawing. Helen has one wooden piece, which has a smooth texture. The carving is overall tan-colored and contains a saddle incorporating brighter colors, such as blue, red, and green. The saddle has straight diagonal lines, as well as curved lines and the tan tail has a very soft texture, resembling a realistic look. In regards to all of Helen’s other pieces of art, lots of color, like blue, purple, brown, and orange are presented. Geometric shapes, such as triangles and rhombuses are used throughout her drawings and paintings of carousels. Similar to the wooden artwork, these pieces also have a pretty realistic appearance, due to her impressive shading that is present throughout the carousel drawings and paintings.
Helen’s pieces of art emphasize her beliefs of how life is chaotic and how society is fixed in a circular route. Her theme of carousels symbolizes how society goes around in circles. Every person who is living a healthy life, moves in a spiral and he or she moves higher and higher during each spin. Although this thought seems pretty positive, Helen is trying to stress how society is not encountering this type of movement. Society is moving in a circle, but it is not moving higher and higher. There may be technological advancements occurring everyday, which therefore means in this way society is moving “up.” However, society is unfortunately stuck in a everlasting circle emotionally. This situation bothers Helen highly and as a result, she completely poured out her anxiety, fear, and frustration throughout her artwork. This ultimately is the reason why the theme is so powerful. Helen decided to focus on carousels and their horses, since she believes these animals are commanding creatures and represent her ideas greatly.
I absolutely loved meeting Helen! She was so incredibly sweet and I appreciated the fact that she was willing to share a great deal of background information about her pieces of art. I also was fascinated by Helen’s theme of carousels, since I related to this topic very much. When I was younger, I was mesmerized by carousels and the horses we could ride on. However, it surprised me even more that I related to Helen’s artwork on a larger scale. Her pieces reminded me of how society works and I resonated with the circular movement of a carousel. Life can sometimes feel like a routine and it is common to feel stuck in a certain lifestyle. I do agree with her belief of how technology constantly is changing and how as society, we are all emotionally staying in the same state. This has become my favorite Artist Conversation so far and I am grateful I had the opportunity to view Helen’s artwork. I only hope I continue to relate and be intrigued by the future pieces of art.
Artist Tag: > Gatov-West