STATE OF PLAY
September 14 – November 13, 2016
Rachel Hellmann’s new series of sculptural paintings, entitled the State of Play, is distinguished by tranquil observation and craft-like accuracy. In bright, saturated hues the works create a fascinating play between literal and illusionistic depth. They are tied to children’s games, each titled and reminiscent of these themes as in the strong angled rectangular planes in the piece Simon Says and the strength embodied through the strong contrasting color and line in the painting: Cat’s Cradle.
Constructed paintings that are somewhere between painting and sculpture, Hellmann’s works demonstrate unassuming techniques emphasizing the simplicity of form, similar to the hard edge work of Ellsworth Kelly and the three-dimensional shaped wooden paintings of Charles Hinman. Trained in painting but growing up around woodworkers and builders, Hellmann’s intuitive use of sculpting wood combined with painting creates various planes and volumes to play with the eye of the viewer. Protruding geometric and undulating wooden forms are balanced like an Alexander Calder mobile, visually turning so subtly as to seem almost moving at first, every element, every weight of meaning and form, poised flawlessly against the next.
Rachel Hellmann received a BFA from the University of Dayton and an MFA in Painting from Boston University. Her work has been featured in several solo shows at Miller Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA, Galleri Urbane, Dallas, TX, University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor, ME, and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA. Hellmann’s work has also been featured at the Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA, Elizabeth Houston Gallery, New York, NY, and the Elmhurst Museum of Art, Elmhurst, IL. Hellmann was awarded the Constatin Alajalov Award in 2005 and the Blanche E Colman Award for Painting in 2012 at Boston University. Hellmann was also granted residencies at the Ragdale Foundation in Forest Park, IL, Platte Clove Preserve, Catskills, NY, and Playa in Eastern Oregon. Most recently, she was awarded the Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence at the Addison Gallery of American Art in 2015.