Helgeson Opens at the Harrison
The Harrison Gallery will be presenting a solo exhibition of paintings by Tracy Helgeson, inspired by the old barns and farm fields around her home near Cooperstown, N.Y., from December 7 to 31. An opening reception with the artist will be held on Saturday, December 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., and is open to the public.
Helgeson’s landscapes are original, distinctive and surely unconventional. Her vibrant magenta barns and fuchsia colored trees leap to the eye and stick to the mind like images from a pleasant dream.
“I used to do conventional landscapes but for me they were too dark and moody,” says Helgeson. “I broke with tradition and started using brighter, livelier colors, those not usually seen in landscapes.” Her work is rooted in actual scenes and places but she freely changes composition, color and light to get the evocative look she’s after. In the beginning, she says, she struggled to make her paintings more abstract, fighting her natural instinct to be representational. What she achieved is a body of paintings that come from, as she says, “a combination of observation and imagination.”
Helgeson’s paintings achieve their glow through a process that starts with an underpainting. She first coats a wood panel with a faintly orange oil paint and spreads it with a cotton cloth. “It’s messy,” she says. “I use my fingers to scratch in the sharper lines on, say, the roof of a barn or the edge of a road.” She lets it dry for a few days and then applies colors by brush in thin layers, allowing the color and texture of the under painting to show through.
The Harrison Gallery is located at 39 Spring Street in Williamstown, Mass. For further information, contact the Harrison Gallery at 4
13-458-1700 or visit theharrisongallery.com.