George Billis Gallery is pleased to present Bonita Helmer: Observed – the gallery’s fifth exhibition of the artist’s abstract paintings. An opening reception will be held Saturday, January 9th from 5-8 PM. The exhibition continues through February 13th.
Bonita Helmer explores scientific theories of physics, astronomy, the inner and outer realms of existence, and the unseen elements of our universe in her paintings. Helmer began her investigation of this work prior to 2000; she is authentically involved in the importance of physics, subatomic research, black holes, the birth of stars, supernovas, and Einstein’s “God Theory”, gravity, energy, heavy elements and collapsing gas and dust to name a few. Visually, she is attracted to naturally occurring and theoretical forms and structures that lend themselves to gestural abstract painting. While exploring the landscape of subatomic levels of existence she actually paints real things and places that are in themselves abstract, and sometimes even invisible.
Helmer was trained as a formal painter. She doesn’t forfeit the artistic experience of hands on work, in favor of technology, but rather enhances the visual experience with expanded experimentation using paint as her primary medium. Helmer uses Science and how it is interconnected to art as a politically important theme. She is interested in the future of the human race and she desires to express a visual representation of a landscape that is still relatively free from human strife.
Helmer’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Exhibitions include: MOCA, Beijing; a solo show at L’Espace Bateau Lavoir, L’Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris; an official adjunct show as part of the MOCA Los Angeles, Whack retrospective of Women in Art; International Space Conference in Washington, DC.; Newport Harbor Art Museum (Orange County Museum of Art); Gallery Q, Tokyo; French Consulate/Alliance Francaise, Los Angeles; UCLA Dortort Center for the Arts, HUC Museum, NYU campus; Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA). Helmer has also done paintings as set design for performance pieces, one co-produced by CalArts and the other in part by an NEA grant.During graduate work at Otis College of Art and Design, Helmer worked with Mitsumi Kanemitsu who became a strong influence in the use of abstraction in painting. Helmer also met and studied with Francoise Gilot at University of Southern California/Idyllwild campus. Gilot introduced Helmer to the use of universal symbol in art. At that time other influences included a friendship with Dr. Jonas Salk who brought to Helmer, awareness of the relationship between science and art. Helmer studied the origins of the universe via physics and astronomy at UCLA and has continued in her personal research into physics and mystical studies. In 2014 Helmer was invited to be on the board of the Exploration Institute which brings together astronauts, physicists, underwater researchers and more. She is the only “visual explorer” in the group of 35 participants. Helmer began teaching at Otis College Art and Design in 1998 and continues to teach there present day. Helmer received her BA in painting, UCLA, Antioch.
George Billis Gallery opened its second location in the Culver City area of Los Angeles in 2004 and marks its 15th year in the Chelsea arts district in New York City. George Billis shows work by both emerging and established artists. For more information please contact the gallery at:2716 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
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