Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Oil, Pastel, Maker, Inks, Crayons, MonoPrints, Basswood Carving
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Max L. Gatov Gallery West
Instagram: No Instagram
About the Artist
For this week’s artist conversation, I met Helen Werner Cox. She is a graduate student who will be graduating this semester with a MFA in drawing and painting at Cal State Long Beach. Ms. Cox grew up in Ithaca, New York, then she moved to Massachusetts to study in fine arts. For about 30 years, she taught middle school and high school before she returned to school to earn her master’s degree. The first 13 years, she lived in Boston, then she decided to move to California because of the heavy snow and rain. When she came to California, she didn’t have any connections to get a job until she got offered to work at a middle school. She worked at a middle school for 17 years, but later became a librarian for 13 years in North Long Beach. Other than drawing and painting as her hobbies, she likes to garden and read fiction or mystery books.
The media used, as mentioned above, was pastels, oil paint, and some prints. The formal qualities of the work include line work as a base for shading and detail. She also included many bright pastel colors like orange, green, and blue to bring out the shape of the horses on the carousel. Her work is mostly a continuous drawing, there are no abrupt characteristics about it, she blends it very nicely to give the feeling that we are moving with the carousel.
Cox’s work reflects society’s inability to grow. Like a carousel, society is a never ending spiral. A carousel goes round and round but it never goes anywhere. She feels that society is moving but not “moving on”. The horses in her drawings are portraying emotions humans feel in this never ending ride. The horses face show fear and anxiety. Merry go rounds used to portray a somewhat dark/scary message is genius.
Helen’s gallery felt really nostalgic. It reminded me of when I was younger and my parents would take me to ride on the carousel. When you see her art at first you just would think that she painting these carousel’s to bring back memories of when we were young.But actually paying attention to her art and understanding what she wants to tell us. I agree with her that in life we do the same thing everyday. We never change our routine and we just do the same things over and over again maybe because that’s our comfort zone for us. Which is true to many people but sometimes that limits us to live life to the fullest. I really enjoyed her gallery its was very unique and beautiful.