Doubling the Cube,  2017, installation view

Doubling the Cube, 2017, installation view

Rachel Hellmann

Gallery Solo Exhibitions

Doubling the Cube (2017)

Dual Line (2016)

 

Artist Statement

In my work, I create painted objects that blur the distinction between painting and sculpture. Poplar wood is “folded” into accordion like forms that bend and jut out from the wall. Using an intuitive sense of geometry, I paint the sculptures with hardedge, saturated shapes of color. The color in combination with cast shadows creates a playful conversation between real and illusionistic space. 

I am influenced by simple structures such as paper airplanes and origami - objects that are light in physical weight yet command and shape the space that they occupy. The sculptural paintings engage their surroundings in such a way that they seem to teeter between enhancing and defying gravity. The sculptures are painted on all sides and encourage the viewer to bend and move their body to see above and below the piece. This movement becomes an essential aspect of the artwork- connecting the object and viewer in a direct way. 

I use equal parts planning and intuition in my work. The process of making the sculptural paintings is slow and requires precision and attention to detail. I first design the form out of cardboard and styrofoam and then recreate it out of wood in a way that is similar to piecing together a complex puzzle. I carefully craft individual segments then join them together using dowels, screws and adhesives. 

The shaped wood 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.

Selected Works