Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Oil and Pastel
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist: Helen was born and raised in New York, she started her career as a teacher teaching in Boston, but after awhile she grew tired of the weather. She then decided to move West where the weather is a lot warmer compared to the East. When she arrived in California, Helen got another job as a teacher in Long Beach. Helen is currently majoring in the FA drawing and Painting figurative program. She is a graduate student and this is her last semester. The reason why she began to paint carousels was because she had discovered a peculiar antique carousel. It was odd to her because the horses looked like they were screaming, and the image of the horses was imprinted in her mind. After that experience, she became fascinated in finding other carousels to paint.
Formal Analysis: From the information provided by Helen, she is using oil and pastel for this particular painting. What stands out from this painting are the colors, size, and the lines. The colors which consist of a variety are responsible for animating the painting. The color that mostly represents the painting is red, which could’ve been the actual color of this carousel. However, towards the bottom right of the painting the color that seems to be dominant is black. I believe that she decided to paint it black because the the main function of a carousel is to spin. She wanted to express that function by painting the bottom half all black. The black part seems to represent endlessness as in the spinning of the carousel, which can only be stopped if the off switch is on. As for the lines and the size, both these aspects are what make the painting realistic. The lines are perfectly drawn out that it forms the actual shape of the horse. The size of the horses on the carousels are also replicated realistically. As if we are actually at the carousel waiting to get on to ride it.
Content Analysis: What the artist was conveying through her painting was the image she saw when she look at the carousel in real life. What I noticed about Helen was that she fascinated in carousels, specifically this one. She described her experience in detail, explaining everything on the carousel from color, shape, and emotion. When I look at her painting I see what she was describing about the carousel. Her main focus was to replicate the image she saw in her interpretation, so this painting is her perspective of the carousel that she saw.
Synthesis/ My experience: What I learned from this weeks artist conversation was that art does not need to be an idea that is created. It can be an experience that the artist had and then share share that experience seen through their eyes. Helen’s painting conveys that idea, when I glance at her painting its as if I’m really there right in front of the carousel. I think this idea about perspective is interesting because we are looking at the artist point of view.