Degree of Drift, 2018

Degree of Drift, 2018

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Rachel Hellmann

Degree of Drift, 2018

Acrylic on paper

27h x 22w in

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I come from a family of carpenters. My early education as an artist taught me the care for craft, love of tools and pride in working with my hands. This history led to my interest in creating paintings that function as objects and occupy space in a physical way. My work explores how perception is affected by the interplay of geometry, light and color. Influenced by folded art forms such as kites, paper airplanes and origami, I paint on shaped forms to instill a sense of play and to suggest the experience of an interior architectural space. I construct my paintings by gluing, sanding and joining poplar boards. I then piece together the segments and paint them with bands and flat shapes of color. The geometric language and linear repetitions in the work echo the methodical and laborious process I use to create the work. The sculptural form combined with both subtle and vibrant color create a vibration between the logical and the unexpected.

The works on paper are composed of painted geometric forms that leave the exterior portion of the white paper exposed. Shifts in angles and shape imply subtle movements destabilizing their geometry in a similar way to their sculptural counterparts. The painted bands and shapes tease the viewer by reverberating between flat and pictorial space.

The pieces are precise, yet sensual, and fluctuate between quirky and beautiful, flamboyant and nuanced. Each work is independent while being simultaneously linked together, providing opportunities to choreograph relationships between and among the pieces. 

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Rachel Hellmann received a BFA from the University of Dayton and an MFA in Painting from Boston University. Her work includes sculpture, painting and installation. She has had solo exhibitions at Elizabeth Houston Gallery, NY, NY, Galleri Urbane, Dallas, TX, Miller Yezerski Gallery, Boston, MA,  University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor, ME and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA.  Other exhibition venues include the Danforth Museum of Art, Framingham, MA, Philip Slein Gallery, St. Louis, MO, Samson Projects, Boston, MA, Christel DeHaan Fine Art Center, University of Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN and the Elmhurst Museum of Art, Elmhurst, IL.

Hellmann was the recipient of the Blanche E. Colman Award for Painting and the Constatin Alajalov Award at Boston University. She was also awarded residencies at the Ragdale Foundation in Forest Park, IL, Platte Clove Preserve, Catskills, NY and Playa in Eastern Oregon. She was published in New American Paintings vol 113 and was recently the Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence at the Addison Gallery of American Art.

Hellmann was Assistant Professor of Painting and Drawing at Northern Essex Community College from 2008 until May of 2013 when she relocated to Terre Haute, IN to work full-time as an artist. Before joining faculty at NECC, she taught at Mount Ida College, School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Bunker Hill Community College. She has been a visiting artist at many colleges including: MassArt, Boston, MA; Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Whittier College, Whittier, CA; Ann Arundel Community College, Arnold, MD; Ball State University, Muncie, IN and Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.