Hellenmae: The Stuff Dreams are Made of

Showing: January 10 – 31

Reception: Friday, January 13, 5 – 9 pm

As with our dreams, Hellenmae’s new works for The Stuff  Dreams are Made of have many layered meanings. Her work evokes themes of sustainability, decay, industrialism, extinction, conservation, and transformation. Each piece is interwoven to complete the complex narrative of this exhibit.

Hellenmae approaches the abstract concept of dreams by rooting it in a real world problem, the need to conserve the natural world. The Stuff Dreams are Made of eloquently addresses the realities of climate change. Represented through meditative line work and imagery saturated with meaning, her depiction of delicate bees, jellyfish, and water serve as companions to transport us between reality and dreams.

Throughout history we have built over our past. Old constructions give way to the new and over time the landscape completely changes, leaving only remnants; hints of what used to be. Invoking the human tendency to reconstruct our landscape, Hellenmae reworks her canvases many times, leaving only a ghost of their former selves. Still, there are subtle cues of the old painting, adding to the history and complexity of the new painting.

In this way, Hellenmae pays homage to her own history. Her artwork is personal, involving vivid memories and experiences from her childhood. She taps into this source to produce powerful works that reach her audience on a cerebral level. We hope your experience in Hellenmae’s surreal world evokes an emotional connection to the environment and a desire to protect our planet. It is the only one we have and connects us all with our shared past.

Artist Statement:

“When I am alone in my studio, I feel like a medieval monk cloistered in a barren cell. I pick up my quill and begin each painting with an idea, an intention, a prayer…You see, when using black sumi ink, there is no going back. Once a line is laid down with the quill, for better or for worse it is there to stay…much like life. Patterns that occur in nature manifest themselves in the intricate ornate lines and shapes created by the ink, they cannot be sketched out first. With  a steady rhythm akin to meditation, I dip my quill into the inkwell and slowly, painstakingly bring to life thoughts that beg for a dialogue. I carve them onto canvas or paper as if I am a solitary monk writing the holy text. When I get into the flow of making art, time evaporates thoughts are suspended, and I am completely immersed in the act of creating. “- Hellenmae, 2016

Hellenmae currently is exploring ink drawings mounted onto reclaimed redwood. In her words:

“The pieces that are mounted on reclaimed redwood were made with wood I found along the side of the road. The paper is burned, creased and wrinkled purposefully to represent the impermanence of life.

Impermanence is beautiful. The tree that once lived has created the wood that the images are mounted on. Sumi ink, the black ink that I use, is also created from wood, but it’s been charred, (charcoal) and mixed with water. I like the idea of the cycle, birth, growth, decline and death… This wheel that we are all on.”- Hellenmae, 2016