Continuing through May 7, 2016
Rachel Hellmann’s shaped paintings bend the viewer’s perceptual field through the way they operate in the gray area that exists between painting and sculpture. Painted with acrylic on board that has been assembled into a three-dimensional object, each one wants to wrestle free from the wall, invading the gallery space. In her current show several complex examples give ample wall space to her examination of complex line and geometries. These patterns confront and counter each other within the planes and shapes that form the paintings. Hellman’s body of work references several movements in 20th century art, using a wide range of colors in nods to constructivism, grid based painting, stripe painting, and op art. These references are realized through the interlocking patterns, giving the work her recognizable style and originality.
Hellman graduated with an MFA from Boston University in 2005; her work was featured last year in "New American Paintings: Midwest Edition." She has been included in numerous group and solo shows, recently leaving academia to concentrate on producing art full time. This last fact clearly paved the way for the mastery evident in this current show. Hellman has said in an artist statement that, “I use shaped forms to instill a sense of play in my work, and to suggest the experience of an interior architectural space.” An engagement with architecture perfectly describes how the pieces function individually and as to their exhibition value. In their engagement with space, the pieces demand that the viewer walk around and experience them through multiple perspectives as with a sculpture. It is here where the complexity begins to reveal itself.