Wk 10 – Artist Conversation – Helen Werner Cox
Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Oil and Pastel, Print Drawings, Wood Carving, Mono Prints, Water Based Materials
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
About the Artist
Helen was a graduate student and was part of the Figure Track program at her school. She grew up in New York State and taught high school and middle school for 30 years. She began teaching high school in Boston for about 13 years, until she finally moved to California, sick of the snow and rain, and taught middle school for an additional 17 years. After this, she became the school librarian, falling in love with her job, and worked there for another 14 years. Currently, aside from her artwork, Helen loves to garden, and read fiction and mystery books. Helen also tends to carry a schedule book around with her to which she writes down all of her artistic ideas and what she wishes to express.
Helen’s exhibition circles mainly around the images of carousals and the animals associated with Merry-go-rounds. Her animals are portrayed in numerous different types of forms and styles. Some creations are wooden, some are vividly colored, others are black and white, and some are even three-dimensional. The expressions of most of her creatures are frantic and wide eyed. Most of her creations have a specific eccentric style to each different art piece. For instance one would have a theme of deep blue, or another a russet orange. All in all, her art pieces each have an individual style, while all having the theme of carousal animals.
Helen says that her artwork is meant to demonstrate the chaos in society in general. She tends to portray only adults on the animals, or rather all the animals themselves completely breaking free from their holds while running around in a frantic herd. She believes that the animals moving in a circle represents the continuous mistakes that people make, in an endless insanity of repetition. The look of chaos on their face is meant to symbolize that adults are unsure of whats going on, simply running because they have nothing better to do.
Synthesis / My Experience
I admire Helen’s work because of the great level of variety it has. Unlike most artists that just make to create, Helen has a deeper meaning behind her works because she is able to connect her images to form a symbolic representation of society. She has a solid theme, yet can still offer different styles that allow the viewer to gain a broader perspective. I for one loved Merry-go-rounds as a kid mainly because of the beauty in it, and still appreciate it now. Helen however, allowed me to see a more deep emotional attachment to it in contrast, I can now understand that it can have a sort of frustrated sadness to it, and that the mistakes of our past are free to repeat themselves so long as we don’t break free of the cycle. Sometimes in life you really just need to leave the past behind so that you can move on in a new direction.