For Immediate Release
The Harrison Gallery
39 Spring Street, Williamstown, MA
December 7 – December 31, 2013
Opening Reception with Artist
Saturday, December 7 – from 5 PM to 7 PM
The Harrison Gallery will be presenting a solo exhibition of paintings by Tracy Helgeson - inspired by the old barns and farm fields around her home near Cooperstown, NY from December 7 - 31, 2013. An opening reception with the artist will be held on Saturday, December 7th from 5 – 7 pm and is open to the public.
Tracy Helgeson attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design where she majored in Graphic Design. She studied illustration at the Philadelphia College of Art where she developed her unique style of under painting and glazing; the technique that distinguishes her work today.
Helgeson’s landscapes are distinctive and surely unconventional. Her vibrant magenta barns and fuchsia colored trees leap to the eye and stick to the mind like images from a pleasant dream - the kind you can’t forget even after you wake up.
“I used to do conventional landscapes but for me they were too dark and moody.” says Helgeson. “I broke with tradition and started using brighter and livelier colors like purple and orange and blue those are not usually seen in landscapes.” Her work is rooted in actual scenes and places but she freely changes composition, color and light to get the evocative look she’s after. In the beginning she struggled to make her paintings more abstract as she was fighting her natural instinct to be representational. What she achieved is a body of paintings that come from “a combination of observation and imagination.”
Helgeson’s paintings achieve their visual glow through a process that starts with an under painting. She first coats a wood panel with a faintly orange oil paint and spreads it with a cotton cloth. “It’s messy” she says. “I use my fingers to scratch in the sharper lines on the roof of a barn or the edge of a road.” She lets it dry for a few days and then applies colors by brush in thin layers of transparent and opaque glazes that leave the brushstrokes showing. This allows the color and texture of the under painting to show through.
Helgeson gets a visceral thrill from the process of making the painting. She’s entranced by the texture of the surface, the softness of the brush, the smell of the paint and the excitement of layering on each new coat of color. Each painting is a sensory experience for Helgeson and for the viewer as well.
The Harrison Gallery is located at 39 Spring Street in Williamstown, MA. Gallery hours are Wednesday - Saturday, 10AM to 5:30PM, Sunday 11AM to 4PM. For further information, please contact The Harrison Gallery at (413) 458-1700 or visit our website at www.theharrisongallery.com.
High Resolution Images Available Upon Request