Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Oil, water color, pastels, canvas
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Helen Werner Cox is a graduate student at California State University Long Beach. She has been doing art for a large part of her life however did work at Middle Schools. She moved to the west coast because she did not like the weather in Boston and enjoys reading and gardening in her spare time. She is working on her MFA in drawing in our arts program here. She has been devoted to learning art throughout her life as she was studying art at Boston University, and now here. To talk more on her personal life, she grew up in Ithaca New York but when she moved to California it was in Southern California. She immediately loved it because it was a 180 from the weather in the Northeast. She soon caught inspiration seeing horses in carousels in Santa Barbara and Southern California.
Her pieces of the carousel horses are smooth however sharp and edged. The smoothness comes from the oils and water coloring. The sharp lines come from pastels and this creates a very interesting contrast. The colors are vibrant and there is stark contrast between them. This lack of blending in the colors make them pop off the art piece itself. Actually there is a very unique piece she has that also draws our attention. Its a sculpture of one of the horses, a centaur. Its saddle is colored while the horse is tan. This change in medium shows her expertise in art. Her larger canvases show larger strokes. The horses silhouette is smooth however there inside is pastel based.
Her artwork is actually super symbolic. The carousel horses are obviously symbolic of childhood and memories. However, she dives deeper into it. She describes how society is stuck in a loop and how we kind of “go through the motions” everyday. The way she used to describe this was the carousel horses themselves, and how we just wake up, go to work and go back to bed. She criticizes this new modern way of life we created. Her artwork I believe shows the beauty of everyone in some ways. If the horses represent us, the colors also do too. These vibrant colors give us the feeling that we are also individuals. Also, it creates this theme that we should feel beautiful no matter what color, or how you look. Overall, its a critique and comment of our society and our population in the modern era we are in.
Synthesis / My Experience
When I walked in and saw all the horses it immediately took me into a flashback in my childhood. As a young child, I would always go to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk carousel. It was an enjoyable time and a memorable moment of my life. This exhibit made me feel a little bit like a child. However, i saw her symbolism with society immediately when I read the title of her exhibit Silent Screams. It made this feeling how we all hate the way we go through the motions. However, we never do anything about it or speak out against it. Hence the Silent portion of the Screams. However, the vibrant colors and bright artwork gave it a pretty positive feeling into it. She described her art as never leaving her and it makes me feel so very happy because thats how I felt about my life. I, at one point, admitted defeat in art and went for Business Administration. However, it never truly left me and so I changed my major to Film because of that. Art never truly leaves a person, its a bug. Once its in you, it never leaves.