Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Oil Paints, Woodcarving, Pastel
Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Gatov Gallery West
Helen Werner Cox was a teacher before she applied to get her art degree here at CSULB. She is a graduate student trying to get her MFA in painting and drawing. She was originally from the east coast and grew up in New York. She taught mostly in Boston before she moved to Long Beach because she got tired of the snow and rain. Helen used to teach art to middle school and high school kids. While teaching in middle school, she also became their librarian. When she’s not working on her art, she enjoys gardening and reading. Fun fact about her is that she doesn’t watch any television, but enjoys games on her phone like the Dot game.
Helen Werner Cox mostly paints her work with oil paints and water paint. Her work is mostly paintings of carousels and vary in colors. Sometimes they are in black and white and sometimes they’re in a mixture of warm and cool colors in which she uses the contrast to make the horses stand out more. The scale can range from a medium sized framed picture to a large canvas to truly capture the actual size of the carousel horse. It is not that symmetric since her work has running carousels that actually move while she’s painting it. Helen brings great detail in making the horses and tries to make the carousel more of a background, but she still makes sure to give it a lot of detail too.
Helen Werner Cox tries to symbolize chaos when she makes her paintings. She believes that a carousel is messy. She thinks of it as people are spinning in circles and getting nowhere. People in the carousel are in a point in their life in which they are stuck and are waiting for something to stop the carousel so they can leave. This could mean that they are waiting for something in their lives to help them move on and stop moving in a circle, but in a straight line. Helen believes that the carousel is a metaphor for a society and the horses symbolize instruments of human development since they have multiple uses.
I think that Helen Werner Cox’s work is very symbolic and meaningful. Never in my wildest imagination would I have made the connection between a carousel and society. Her work not only stands out with its use of pastels, it also stands out with its message. I used to think that carousels were just a ride kids went on for a good time, but Helen changed the way I see them now. I admire how she didn’t make the carousel very fun and childlike, but instead gave it more of a serious aesthetic to convey her message of society better. I am also astounded by the fact that some her paintings were of actual moving carousels. Her ability to give such good details to a moving horse is phenomenal.She does such a great job with her work and should be given more recognition.