Katy Helman – US

“For me painting is a contact sport. 12 rounds no knockout, tomorrow is another day.” ~ Susan Carr, artist.

The quote captures the spirit of Katy’s own approach. And recently, another artist responded to her paintings by saying that my work made him feel as though he were, “holding back”. Katy does not hold back. As a child, she had free reign to dress myself and mixed florals with plaids and paisleys, added stripes. To their credit, her parents were never afraid her teachers would think them negligent. It was simply an early indicator of her artistic bent. She is still mixing stripes and paisleys, synthesizing genres and styles to create paintings. Painting is how she negotiates life. The visual excitement of excess and a strong sense of animation are the defining characteristics of her paintings, they invigorate and unify her work. The energy of the work begins below the surface and moves up through many layers. Like a magpie, Katy will scan her environment, attracted to surprise elements of color, pattern or texture, and then collects, interprets, and uses those
moments. She uses unorthodox approaches to explore and resolve formal concerns of composition, cutting away big hunks, painting on the reverse side of the stretched canvas, and/or combine several canvases together. The process of translating her inner vision to the tangible is done intuitively. The viewer is encouraged to move slowly through each painting in order to examine and make sense of the stimulus, thus, uncovering bits that have been assimilated from other artists who have served as models of inspiration, fabric sighted at a store or other images that have intrigued her. Her practice is rooted in the philosophy that my studio is her science lab, she says “I experiment, I discover, I record, and sometimes I blow things up”.

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