Project Room

Rachel Hellerich: Present Phase

April 6—April 28, 2018

Rachel Hellerich, Step to Ascension, 2017. Acrylic and flashe on panel.

Exhibition Dates: April 6-28, 2018

Artspace is pleased to debut Present Phase, a solo show of eight new landscape paintings by Rachel Hellerich. For more than a decade, Hellerich has focused on landscape painting as a gateway for exploring three-dimensional space. She enters this realm with a historically curious approach, bringing together techniques from Asian Art, to 20th century architecture and design, the 1960s Op Art Movement and its Modern antecedents (specifically Futurism and Constructivism), Formalism, Geometric Abstraction,  science fiction films from the 1930s-present, and the current building of new worlds in digital space. As nearly five hundred years of painterly references meet, the work takes a step back, shedding light on the genre of landscape painting as an ongoing quest for a deeper understanding of our natural, spiritual, and built worlds.

Hellerich created these paintings over the past two years, working on each for a month or more. Her attention to detail is stunning, heightened by the effect of luminescence, which she achieves by applying multiple layers of paint and working with metallic pigments. The passage of time plays a central role in this new body of work, giving way to the show’s title, and the artist’s unique idea to invite visitors to view the show on a set of optimal dates and times. Hellerich will determine these viewing hours during her March 1-31 residency at Artspace, and create a schedule that will run from April 6-28, when visitors might choose to meet her in the space for a personal 15-minute tour. Based on their installation, the paintings will achieve different effects, including shadow play, effervescence and seeming endlessness.

Hellerich will also debut her first painting applied directly on the wall. Influenced by Op artists Bridget Riley, Victor Vasarely and Sol LeWitt, the mural will explore landscape painting’s immersive potential by appealing to human scale. Its interior pattern will extend to the outer limits, breaking with the tradition of painting as being contained to a rectangular shape. The wall piece is inspired from a detail of a smaller painting, that will be on display in the same room, and was the first piece created for this show one year ago.

Join us for the opening reception and artist talk for Present Phase on April 6 from 5-8pm. Local Activist, Educator and Curator, Stephen Kobasa, will lead an Artist Talk from 5:30-6:30pm.  This event is free and open to the public.