Here Be Dragons
George Billis Gallery Los Angeles is pleased to present Here Be Dragons, an exhibition of new paintings by Los Angeles painter Bonita Helmer. The exhibition opens on October 13th with a reception for the artist on Saturday, October 13th, from 5 to 8pm. This is Helmer’s fourth solo exhibition with GBGLA and features the artist’s most recent body of abstract paintings. The exhibition continues through November 10th, 2012.
Continuing her interest in unseen structures, Helmer’s latest body of work is concerned with the uncharted areas of science on a macro and micro level. Combining scientific information with mythic notions about that which exists beyond what we can see with our physical eyes, her work is a kind of map-making that takes the viewer to the edge of the physical world and of the universe.
Using physics along with images from space as an inspiration for investigations into the theory of the ever-expanding universe, Helmer creates metaphors for the conditions of our world. Mystical and philosophical theories are interwoven with ancient symbols as she represents aspects of space and particle physics such as the crystal lattice, neutrino, gravitino, sparticles and star nurseries.
While we understand the concept that sub-atomic particles exist, they cannot be seen with the naked eye. In her paintings, Helmer explores physical particles that exist in a sphere of reality that we do not consciously interact with, yet are most certainly aware of. A researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory has called Helmer an “intuitive physicist.” While looking at the abundant photo images coming from space at this time, Helmer uses the medium of paint to express the universe and the spatial landscape.
The painting techniques she uses include a variety of contemporary mixed media including acrylic and spray paint. While being influenced by the California space and light movement, Helmer is also paying homage to art historical influences such as Delacroix, Magritte, Turner, and Caravaggio, to create a way to intertwine new ideas and old world painting aesthetics through the use of color theory, light and composition.
Raised in Los Angeles, Helmer studied at UCLA, received her BFA in Painting from Antioch University in 1978, did graduate work at Otis College of Art and Design, and studied with Francois Gilot. Helmer currently teaches at Otis and has exhibited nationally and internationally, including the Espace Bateau Lavoir in Paris, Track 16, (2004), and The Orange County Museum of Art (1984). Her work has been reviewed in Art in America, The Los Angeles Times, and The California Art Review among others. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.