Wk. 10 Artist Conversation- Helen Werner Cox


Artist: Helen Werner Cox

Exhibition: Silent Screams

Media: Oil pastel (mainly). Some linoleum cuts

Gallery: CSULB School of Art. Gatov Gallery West

Website: www.HelenWernerCox.com



Helen was born in Ithaca, NY. She spent a fair amount of time studying in Boston at BU during her younger years. There, she received her Bachelor’s degree from the school of fine arts. Next, she spent quite some time in Boston as an art teacher. One day, she decided what she was doing was not fulfilling enough. In result, she moved to California and began to work on her Master’s degree in the Drawing and Painting program. She is currently two months away from graduating. Helen’s work primarily makes her seem like she is very interested in carousels. She seems to have a fascination with the horses on them.


Helen’s work here is quite fascinating. She uses many vibrant colors to paint these horses/ carousels in a way that they really stand out. In use here are many oil pastels. It seemed as if she would draw the entire thing out, but normally would paint the horses much more vibrantly than the carousel itself. The rhythm of each entire piece had a very soft vibe. Not to mention the line structure. It was difficult to find lines that looked even remotely sharp. Even those that met as corners seemed rounded.


All in all, it seemed that Helen’s work in Silent Screams had to do with a fictional concept. Looking back on it now, she made it seem as if these horses were all attempting to make sound vocally. It seemed from speaking with her that what was on her mind was an idea of the horses screaming out because their space bubbles were being violated. What gave me this idea was that I noticed Helen tell multiple to be careful of the work in the gallery. (even though they were not close to it) It also seemed that she was attempting to explore a whimsical concept. Though some of the horses did look frightening, there were many others that seemed very happy. Another ide was that she had quite happy carousel music playing in the gallery.


Walking away from the gallery, I felt as if the work left me in a happy yet eerie mood. The pieces all seemed to use bright colors, but there were mostly darker primaries. Not to mention the dim lighting. I’m not entirely sure if the segment of the Carousel music was meant to seem that dark, but it definitely came off that way for me. Carousel music has always instilled this feeling of fear personally. I always related carnivals to creepy places when I was younger. I think it may have been the fact that I watched Stephen King’s It at a young age. As you know, clowns are a part of carnivals. As a whole though, I liked the exhibition. Everything was very well made, and you could certainly tell that there was much love behind the pieces.


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