Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Oil pastel, water colors, crayons, markers, Wood
Gallery: Max L. Gatov Gallery West
Helen Werner COx is currently a grad student in her last year at CSULB. She will be receiving her MFA in Drawing and Painting. Unlike most of the artists that I have met this year, Helen hails from New York somewhere outside of Ithaca, NY. She left to study art in Massachusetts and then went to teach art in middle and high schools for 30 years. She has held a job in education for decades as a teacher and a librarian but it never stopped her from being creative and pursuing her dreams.
The lines in her work are rounded. No doubt that this stems from her notion that “Society is trapped in a carousel” and that society is doomed to repeat its mistakes forever. The colors Cox used give the carousel a faded aesthetic which gives viewers the idea that it’s not the carousel’s first spin. There’s depth in her use of color as well. The difference in color between background and foreground provides an extra dimension to each piece with the bright colors you can expect to see on a carousel near the viewers’ eye.
Cox believes that society is trapped and doomed to rotate about a fixed point without ever making any real progress. If this is true, it certainly is frightful to think that we are just destined to repeat ourselves. Perhaps this is why the horses are illustrated screaming. . .maybe they, too, realize this truth that cox believes. They seemed to be in pain and their faces were too hard to look at. Maybe this is how much Cox believes society is in trouble. Without progress or any real change, our fate has already been written.
Helen Werner Cox made me look at carousels differently. I don’t mind it since she did so with grace with her art. When I walked in I thought that maybe she really liked horses? But after hearing her speak on what it all means, I opened my eyes and began to notice her message in each painting. Just as it’s supposed to do, it spoke to me. I looked inward as an individual in society and noticed that I also live on repeat. That my life is an inanimate horse that’s bound to spin forever and that’s something that I won’t let myself become.