Helene Appel, ‘Wheat Grains’, 2013, TWO x TWO

Appel renders her subjects to exact scale, clutched by delicate shadows only resting slightly off the surface of her unprimed canvas. In Wheat Grains, Appel’s technique shows a visual investment in the each grain. Unlike a traditional still life, the aerial view challenges the traditional painterly representations and takes on an abstract quality.

German-born artist Helene Appel’s work has a spectacular feeling of repetition, rhythm, and labor associated with domestic ideas not typically connected to painting. She renders her subjects to exact scale, clutched by delicate shadows only resting slightly off the surface of an unprimed canvas. In Wheat Grains, Appel’s technique shows a visual investment in the quality of each grain. Unlike a traditional still life, the aerial view challenges the traditional painterly representations and takes on an abstract quality. Appel’s intention is not to deceive, but to evoke the sincere and elegant presence of the object. Appel lives and works in London. She has had solo exhibitions in London, Norwich, Moscow, Berlin, and Hamburg. Her work has been included in group shows at Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, and the Contemporary Art Society, London.

About Helene Appel

Helene Appel focuses on the unassuming materials and sights of daily life—a rumpled blanket, bits of onion on a cutting board, plastic sheeting, knitting—drawing out their delicate, intrinsic beauty in photorealistic paintings that border upon abstraction. By emphasizing textures and patterns, she plays with genres, crossing the artful illusionism of still life painting with the Minimalist emphasis on the flat finiteness of the picture plane. Working primarily with watercolor, acrylic, and oil, and always on unprimed canvas, Appel paints to scale, resulting in works as large as a capacious bed sheet and as intimate as tiny, torn lettuce leaves. While her trompe l’oeil images look like the real thing, her intention is not to trick the eye. Rather, Appel aims to explore what she sees as the reciprocal relationship between the painted subject and the act of painting itself.

Germany, b. 1976, Karlsruhe, Germany, based in London, United Kingdom