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Marjorie Hellman

About the Artist

Growing up between Philadelphia and New York, I became an avid museum goer. My passion for looking at art led me to study at Rhode Island School of Design, (European Honors Program, BFA Painting, 1971), then Cranbrook Academy of Art, (Graduate Painting Program). After completing my MFA at Syracuse University, I remained in upstate New York for over 25 years, teaching studio art on the college level, and exhibiting throughout the Northeast. In 1999, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where my studio practice and exhibition opportunities continued until interrupted by a serious cervical spine injury caused by a car accident. It was several years before I could work again, but by 2009, I was able to start on my way back to a productive life, making small works on paper using colored pencils. In 2012, I moved to Providence, RI. Although somewhat physically limited, I could handle paint again, and have been making progress in tackling work of larger scale and scope. Since 2016, I have been living and working just north of Providence, in a converted rug mill, on a street lined with old mills and other reminders of early 20th century industrial prosperity.

About Artist’s Work:

My recent work in collage and mixed media on paper stems from drawings I make in developing compositions for my paintings, although the surface concerns could not be more different. In my drawing process, observations from both the natural and manmade worlds combine to make abstractions that exist somewhere in the metaphysical realm. In a more oblique way, ideas from other sources, such as literature or scientific discovery enter in, adding an undercurrent of meaning to the visual. While my paintings (hard edged geometric abstractions), seek to create a flat, brushstroke-free surface, where color juxtapositions are the focus, my works on paper employ visual elements that read like textures, sourced from an archive of my own past color drawings, as well as from ongoing my collection of other printed matter. When constructing the collages, I respond not only to the visual content, but to the narrative suggestions I find in the materials, connecting to the images and objects that attract me in my drawing process. Using colored pencil and gouache, I add to the paper fragments with which I compose, tuning color and readability. Like my paintings, the works on paper deal with ambiguity of space and structure. The viewer might find different paths through a piece on subsequent journeys. Much smaller in size than most of my paintings, and packed with visual detail, these pieces compel a close-up look. And while my paintings usually present space related to human scale, these collages offer a world in miniature. The irregular perimeters I use offer additional emphasis on boundary and containment.

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