by Heather Zises
Optically striking, Evelyna Helmer’s multimedia tableaux are accumulations of collaged physique sections, mystical animals, bouquets, and paint. Through the procedure of amassing, assembling, sculpting and painting, she delivers a visible language in which symbols, icons and objects commingle in a tremendous-flat ambiance. Doing the job with a wide range of media including discovered photos, oil, acrylic, ink, and charcoal, Helmer examines themes of nostalgia, thriller, memory and femininity with a poetic twist. Recognizable figurative components attract the viewer into each individual work and bridge a sense of connectivity whilst saturated shades, skewed perspectives and exaggerated scale recalibrate fact into unsettling destinations. Cinematic and suspenseful, Helmer’s compositions disrupt and reinterpret widespread item meanings by making it possible for the familiar and arcane to converge.
Born and elevated in Chicago, Helmer acquired her BA in Artwork Record from the College of Illinois, Champagne-Urbana, as effectively as article-graduate certificates in Images, Fantastic Artwork and Horticulture. She currently life and is effective in Sydney, Australia but frequently travels back to the States to work in her studios in Vero Beach, FL and Chicago, IL. Helmer’s track record in studio art and art history strongly shaped her practice, which consists of a deep understanding for archival procedures and supplies.
Influenced by Pop Artwork and promotion, she attracts inspiration from artists like Wayne Thiebaud, Veja Celmans, and Giorgio Morandi. During her undergraduate reports, Helmer commenced her 15-calendar year occupation as a high-quality art professional photographer in which she learned how to print and make her individual work. In addition to analog pictures, the artist designed her work and procedure with other media including painting, sculpture, and is effective on paper. Helmer says that “only soon after fully being familiar with a medium can one particular categorical and play with the supplies. Adhering to that, I experienced a recent ‘explosion’ in the studio and have been creating nonstop with all types of supplies and mediums!”
Helmer’s latest sequence of assemblage collages are hinged on the transitory item life of visible make a difference in our latest age of picture infatuation. Created in reaction to the pandemic and imposed self-isolation, the artist explores psychic house and dim corners of the thoughts. By referencing the unconscious and desires, each individual work features quotidian objects that beg to be examined up close. “I discover I have a liberty to be additional playful, combining mediums in experimentation,” Helmer observes. As such, the artist appropriates imagery from equally analog and electronic archives to fuse individual history with collective history to disrupt and reinterpret meanings of the objects represented. The backgrounds of her collages are well prepared in a spontaneous way, not contrary to the procedure of automated composing. Composed imagery is then produced from a wide, individual archive of paper supplies like publications, newspapers, labels, maps and product sales receipts. The consequence is a team of potent compositions that culminate into levels of Hopper-esque stress encompassing its objects.
Proof of Helmer’s kinship with a digicam is evidenced in her latest sequence such that familiar depictions of objects and figures look trapped in house, struggling to regain their aim in between crisp levels and atmospheric blurs. We see this visible unit utilized in Desire Rooms no. 53, Guy with Feathers, in which a male torso is stuck in between a sticky bubblegum pink track record and a bouquet of multicolored flames in Desire Rooms no. 21, Woman Dreaming, the head of a faceless girl with a lustrous mass of blonde hair floats earlier mentioned an intricate marble space established in opposition to a blurry backdrop of black and white streaks and yet again in Desire Rooms no. 10, Ambiguous Reduction, in which a headless physique of a nude girl clad in sheer pantyhose wades in a turbulent ocean seeking towards an abbreviated horizon in which a freakishly massive and dim pocked moon hangs too minimal in the sky.
Amongst Helmer’s poetic, cinematic areas, familiar depictions turn out to be eerie and hover on the precipice of fact and illusion. Time collapses into pockets of stillness that are populated with impossibly proportioned imagery such as in Woman Leaving, in which an outsized fairy rides a tiny winged horse. The strategy of masks and anonymity is ubiquitous as effectively (and does not go unnoticed in the age of COVID) in the type of bouquets and mystical animals for human heads in Woman Dreaming, Desire Rooms no. 33, Woman with Rose, and Desire Rooms no. 3 Owl Mother.
Appropriating imagery that ranges from folklore to promotion, Helmer investigates from all angles the strategies by which photos are built, recycled and immortalized. Mining her photographic track record, the artist reimagines the portrait, the nevertheless life, and the merchandise shot via a customized lens. References to Pop society percolate among Helmer’s collages such as Desire Rooms no. 7, Sweater that recalls the song “Eyes Without the need of A Face” by Billy Idol in which outsized, kohl-rimmed eyes hover in a white cloud of smoke earlier mentioned a chunky white sweater and in Desire Rooms no. 1, Woman with Octopus that feels like a mash up between Ursula the sea witch from Disney’s The Minor Mermaid and The Beatles song “Octopus’s Garden” which depicts an octopus as the head of a girl floating in an oceanic yard.
In the course of Helmer’s collages, objects, and their importance are intentionally elliptical. The standard gets incredible thanks to a effective aura dwelling within. Performing like vessels of memory and working experience, her objects get on an anthropomorphic top quality such that they are reimagined personifications of individuals lacking from our earth. In addition, normal environments and phenomena turn out to be platforms for an elastic existing and figures functionality as worldwide citizens with seemingly common pores and skin tones as witnessed in Woman Dreaming and Woman with Octopus.
A further ongoing preoccupation in Helmer’s work is coloration. Doing the job in live performance with typified feminine hues, the artist favors a palette of pinks and purples, mauves and indigos. Pink retains individual great importance in conditions of its versatility and symbolism, based on the cultural narrative and context. In Western custom its that means has shifted around time. Traditionally, pink used to be a man’s coloration and inadvertently turned ascribed to women a symbol of submissiveness soon after World War II. During the war, pink triangle badges had been used to determine homosexual adult males. When the war ended, women embraced pink and eventually annexed the coloration as a symbol of femininity. Article 1960, additional recent interpretations of the coloration have been ascribed to gender neutrality and emotional connectedness. In viewing Helmer’s is effective as a full, each individual collage delivers an optical punch with its psychological outcomes and inherent biases: how we see coloration and how marketing and advertising attempts to homogenize taste.
Oscillating from gradient backgrounds to saturated shapes, Helmer bucks convention in which particular shades are utilized in the course of each individual work skies turn out to be yellow in Desire Rooms no. 3 Owl Mother classical ball robes resemble cyanotypes in Desire Rooms no. 33 and pores and skin gets multi-tonal in Woman Dreaming.
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An alluring cocktail of thriller and nostalgia, Helmer’s representational collages redirect us into a fragmented earth of unanswered queries, entropy and isolation.
This month, Evelyna’s work is on look at at the gallery via December 3 and is out there for sale on her ARTmine page.