Sunday, May 15, 2016

RACHEL HELLMAN


Rachel Hellmann - Installation View

Repost of ModernDallas.net article.

So many exciting things are happening this weekend, I might not get to see half of what I need to see. Dallas Art Fair will be a must, but two other events will capture a my time as well. The Dallas Arts Week Party at Galleri Urbane will be my last event to visit on Saturday. To me, it will be an art week after party. And what better artist to celebrate after looking at a glut of art than Rachel Hellmann, and her formalist, quiet minimalist works. The other event is on Sunday at The Fort Worth Modern Art Museum with their opening of Frank Stella’s retrospective.

Rachel Hellmann’s paintings are on paper and on board. I first gravitated to the works on paper, because I enjoy the play of illusionistic dimensionality. The dimensionality you might get from images resembling disordered stacks of colored and patterned paper. The play of flat on flat is a pleasant sensation. Of course, maybe Hellmann intends these works on paper to reflect more of the sculptural feeling her paintings use, but I see them as more flat. Maybe because when I see tightly composed lines, I am reminded of lined paper or grid paper. A piece like Pale Garden illustrates my thoughts about her simulating this feeling of paper.

The paintings are a kind of relief, which slightly invades your space and makes the work feel lighter than a solid object. The painting Seems to Waver has a few bright colored lines with understated colored lines that are thinly applied to allow the grain of the wood panel to come through. Meanwhile a black triangle points out the right side of the painting. Everything is well balanced in color and line, yet slightly off balanced by the relief aspect of the painting.

Hellmann’s show might be able to prepare you for a show like Frank Stella’s retrospective, because in many ways her work relates to Stella both in his minimal and maximal stages. Stella created strong line paintings that were mostly black, minimal, and flat. Later, Stella created a kind of painting relief that played with the language of painting, while entering a realm of wall hanging sculptures. Hellmann’s paintings are both minimal and relief, only she isn’t maximalist. Maybe if you run through the Dallas Art Fair in 30 minutes, you might come close to the feeling of Stella’s maximalist works. I have run across several Youtube videos of the Frank Stella show at the Whitney Museum of American Art, but since his show will be so near Dallas, you have to go see it.

The Dallas Art Week Party will be Saturday from 6 to 9 and Rachel Hellmann’s show will close on May 7th. Frank Stalla: A Retrospective will open at the Fort Worth Modern on Sunday, April 17th and run through September 18th.

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