Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Ink / Wood / Screen / Marker / Paint / Paper / Pastels / Monoprints / Etc
Gallery: Gatov Gallery West
Helen is a student in her last year at CSULB getting her MFA in drawing and painting. She is originally from Ithaca, New York, but moved to California after studying and teaching in Boston for years. She taught in California for a short time, but decided to become a librarian and did so for over 10 years. In her free time, she loves to tend her garden and read. She said she prefers the West Coast weather because the East has too much rain and snow.
Helen’s exhibition, Silent Screams, was inspired by an array of carousel horses from the 1920s. She called it Silent Screams because the horse’s mouths are wide open with emotional faces; however, they are silent. She is trying to emphasize the spinning aspect of carousels. It reflects how out of control our lives and the world is. She makes something that is supposed to be fun, seem dark and scary because of the emotion on the horses faces and their body language.
While at CSULB, Cox learned new techniques that would improve her skills. She used dark shading that contrasted the subject of the piece. The dark shadows surrounding the horses emphasized their emotions. While her color schemes are different in every piece, it is easy to recognize the message she is trying to convey. She stated that while being out in public, she always carries a notebook around with her to immediately write down any idea that pops into her head.
I thought Cox’s exhibit was very unique. Going into the Gatov Gallery, the first thing I noticed was the circus music that was playing. It was terrifying and it made me very uncomfortable. Seeing the faces on the horse’s faces did not help one bit. However, I thought they were beautiful and I couldn’t wait to hear the story behind their distraught faces. Listening to her speak about why she decided to paint this was inspiring and it made a lot of sense.