George Billis Gallery is pleased to present Bonita Helmer: In the Midst of Chaos - the gallery’s sixth exhibition of Helmer’s abstract paintings. The exhibition continues through January 5th.
Helmer describes her work, "I explore scientific theories of physics, astronomy, the inner and outer realms of existence, and the unseen elements of the universe in my paintings. In my current series, “In the Midst of Chaos”, I try to create metaphors for the conditions of our world now. In the quiet of the universe, a Super Nova suddenly explodes into chaotic fragments of various materials flying light years into space. There is a peaceful, beautiful energy in the universe as well as an awe-inspiring unpredictability. There is so much anguish caused by war, poverty, famine, human fragility and endless conflict in our world, it is my desire to paint an unknown, untouched landscape that is still without the influence of human destruction. Using science and how it is interconnected to art is a politically important theme. I am interested in the future of the human race and wish to express a visual representation of a landscape that is still relatively free from our accumulated strife."
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’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 an 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.