About Jane Helslander

White Arcs on Red,
Mixed-media on paper,
14  x 14  in.

Getting inside a Jane Helslander painting is an experience that transcends such academic parameters as perspective & transparency. Helslander’s surfaces may be planar, her mediums opaque, & her compositions unrelated to perspective, yet her paintings almost drag one into them & compel one to dance with them. The overriding impression is that one is being involved, surrounded, & moved.

Asymmetric flow is at the heart of every image. Circular forms wheel & turn, overlap & fly apart in response to alternating centrifugal & magnetic forces. They project a dynamic balance that is poised to let them swoop & topple & spin before they once again ease into equilibrium.

Helslander’s inspiration is the ceaseless drift & flux of nature in all its forms. She spends a great deal of time quietly observing phenomena that range from the ripples in a pool of water to the near-immobility of rock formations; from snowstorms, swirling in the light of street lamps, to the calm of distant horizons. Her art gets deeply into the clockwork of nature’s organic machinery; it is concerned with the chemical strings that make up all matter, & it tracks the random patterns that keep the world in constant motion. It amplifies the organ-grinder tunes of daily existence, & it picks up the faintest whisper of life at a cellular level.

These ideas do not make themselves immediately apparent. Rather, they emerge a little at a time over the course of an hour or a lifetime. Each canvas can be enjoyed solely for its emotional beauty, but each rewards further thought as well. Helslander is an educated artist who studies constantly & is mindful of the influence of the great art of the past, & she incorporates universal concerns into the most abstract frameworks. She holds an MFA & teaches art at the university level, & she has exhibited her work in museum invitational exhibitions as well as in top galleries & regional shows. Among her honors are commissions from Neiman-Marcus & from the new Terminal D at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. For that commission, she created a thirty foot floor mosaic in a round format. To stand on it is to experience the sensation of walking on water & creating ripples – a pleasant & sensual preface to boarding an aircraft & taking flight.

Helslander’s lays down a symphony of circles & then adds & subtracts elements until the image resolves itself. An admitted audiophile, she attends concerts & jazz performances, relishing the interaction between musicians. She can almost see the sound patterns that radiate outward, & she relishes the electricity that the audience absorbs. The notes that register on her ear are translated onto canvas as marks that loop & overlap, appear & disappear, & resound with Doppler echoes.

Helslander’s process uncovers layer after layer of kinetic inference, a phenomenon she refers to as “field presence.” With hypnotic energy & vibrant authority, these works lead the viewer to discover circles within circles, the beating pulse of nature, the thing within the thing.

Helslander’s works have been exhibited at the Longview Museum, the Arlington Museum of Art, the Waco Art Center, the Haggar Gallery at the University of Dallas, the Moudy Gallery at Texas Christian University, & The Gallery at UTA. Michael Lash, Director of Public Arts for Chicago, chose Helslander for inclusion in New American Paintings.


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