Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Woodcarving, Oil Paint, Pastel, Monoprints, Water based Materials
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Helen Werner Cox is a graduate student at CSULB. Halfway through graduate school, she wanted to express herself. She is currently studying for MFA in drawing and painting figurative. This is her last semester of drawing and painting. She grew up in Ithaca, New York. When she was 18 years old, she went to Massachusetts and lived there for 16 years. After that, she has been in California ever since. For 30 years, she taught at a high school and middle school. During the first 13 years, she was at Boston. She taught at a high school and the moved to California because she was tired of the rain and snow. She didn’t have any connections in California, but got a job offer and tried teaching middle school students. She fell in love with middle school students and worked as a middle school teacher for 17 years. After the school librarian retired, she became a librarian for 14 years. During her free time, she likes to garden and read. She doesn’t watch any T.V. at all. Lately, she’s been under so much stress that she got addicted to the DOTS game.
All the pastel artworks took her a very long time. Helen wanted to capture energy and passion. She used a variety of materials for her artworks such as oil paint, pastel, water based materials, pastel, and so on. She went to a warehouse and drew groups of animals. She has been taking art in a slightly different direction. The carousel is no longer there and the animals are going in different directions. The antique carousel is a visual metaphor to society. She expressed her artwork through the arrangement of values, lines, shapes, and colors.
Horse is a prominent figure in the carousel, but she has started to mix up different kind of animals such as gorillas. Many of her artworks have a lot of horses in it. The irony is that she was never into horses. She wasn’t one of those girls that went crazy over horses. She chose horses because most animals have been horses on carousels at antique stores. She didn’t want her pieces to be cutesy. A guy at Griffith Park introduced her to a woman who collected carousel horses. She spent a lot of time drawing the carousel at Griffith Park.
Helen wants her work to convey chaos. She feels that society is spinning in a circle and making the same mistakes. She talked about Joseph Campbell , who talks about mythic structures. A healthy life goes in a spiral, but as you travel you learn things. Each time you go in circle, you go to higher level. She feels like society is stuck in a circle. We’re getting somewhere with technology, but emotionally we aren’t going anywhere. It bothers her and she has been channeling anxiety, anger, and fear through her art works.
Helen finds graduate school to be intense. It’s like you fall into a hole and the rest of your life is put on hold. You just focus on school. She hasn’t seen her friends in the past four years. When she’s done, she feels life she’s going to renter society. During the summer, she wants to go to the county fair and draw because some of the images there will extend this project even more. Overall, I really enjoyed and admire her artworks. I hope she continues to make more beautiful artworks.