Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Oil Pastel, Prints, Woodcarving, Monoprint
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Instagram: Artist does not have an Instagram
For this week’s artist conversation, I met Helen Werner Cox. Helen is currently a graduate student at CSULB. She is currently pursuing a MFA in drawing and painting figurative and it is her last semester. Helen grew up in Ithica, New York. At age 18, she moved to Boston, Massachusetts and lived there for sixteen years. Tired of rain and snow, she decided to come to California. After moving to California, she didn’t have any connections, but she managed to get a job as a high school teacher. She then switched and taught middle school for three years and became a librarian at the same school for fourteen years. Helen enjoys gardening very much. The front yard of her house is filled with beautiful plants of all sorts. She also enjoys reading books, especially fiction and mysteries.
Helen’s art exhibition displayed eye-catching pieces all around. She uses a range of media to create her artwork, such as oil pastel, prints, wood carving, and monoprint. I was really fascinated because the art pieces were just so beautiful. Some were black and white and others were fully colored. I thought both were just as pretty. She mentioned that she spent a lot of time working on her projects because she had to sketch them first then color them using her mediums. Helen would spend hours in a warehouse sketching her art pieces. The picture below is one of her favorite artwork because it captures her energy and passion. She was inspired by the carousel at Griffith Park and created this beautiful art piece using oil and paint.
Helen mentions that the theme of her work work has been so powerful because she has been been channeling her fear, anxiety and frustration through her artwork. She feels that as a society, we are not moving anywhere and is trapped in a circle. People believe that in a healthy life, the thought of a circle portrays the idea of a journey where you travel upwards and learn new things. However, for Helen, she feels that it is not true and that our society is repeating the same mistakes. Therefore, her artwork shows the theme of her emotions regarding society.
When I first walked into the art exhibition, I thought there were only horses around. Until I saw two big pieces in the back that I really liked. Helen pointed out that one of her paintings consist of a background ceiling that is related to Griffith Park. She spent a lot of time at the carousel in Griffith Park getting ideas and sketching. On one of them, she spent over four hours sketching as the horses were moving. I was quite impressed because I find that pretty difficult to do. For me, I prefer having a quiet and stable work area. The exhibition brought back memories for me. During my childhood, I enjoyed going on carousels because I found them so exciting. I have always wanted to ride on real horses, but I never got the chance so I always rode on the merry go rounds. There were also times when I would frequently ride on the ones that cost 50 cents outside of the supermarkets. Those were pretty different because they weren’t as nice and were pretty small, however I was still happy. I really enjoyed the art exhibition and the pieces displayed.