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Rachel Hellmann
Gallery Urbane, Dallas, Texas
Recommendation by John Zotos


Rachel Hellman, "Apparent Motion," 2017, acrylic on poplar wood, 36 x 24 x 7"

Continuing through December 30, 2017

This exhibition of Rachel Hellmann’s newest pieces displays two distinct bodies of work within the same spatial context. She refers to her object-like wooden structures as "Sculptural Paintings," a series begun in 2012; and to contrasting flat yet related works as the "Paintings on Paper," a series begun in 2013. What they have in common is a dependence on pattern with a hard edge geometric style. Titles reference the qualities acquired by paper and wood after the artist has reorganized the shapes and surfaces, such as "Apparent Motion" and “Resiliency." Hellmann lives and works in Terra Haute, Indiana where she took up residence in 2008, after concluding several teaching assignments, in order to concentrate on making art full time.

The title of the exhibition, “Doubling the Cube," alludes to an unsolvable ancient mathematical problem that requires the use of only a compass and a straightedge.This serves as a metaphor for Hellmann’s quasi-scientific exploration of angles in space when she is considering the painted sculptures. They present visual puzzles for us to decode, putting together a manifold of sensations that then compel a consideration of the works on paper, which prove to be as key to her aesthetic as the larger work. In the Sculptural Painting "Reverse Fold," interconnected poplar boards with planes of blue, purple, white and yellow, seem to writhe and dance like the mechanism of an accordion. The musicality and rhythm corresponds to Hellmann’s use of color and how the shapes juxtapose among the various planes. In the Painting on Paper "Glide Reflection," faceted blue, lilac and green hues form a planar structure that glides across the surface, rivaling the sculptures by creating their own depth in tension with a decidedly flat ground.

Galleri Urbane (Dallas)

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