April 2 - 27, 2014
Friday, April 4
Sometimes life is full of light: effortless, buoyant. Other times it is all gravity: heavy and dark.
In the oil stick paintings Creation of the Coast of California and Creation of the Coast of Maine, giant hands form coastal topography out of paint. In Duality, a squirrel sits oblivious in a crystal cave. Primavera shows a large white dog staring out from a strange flower garden. Hebrew letters swirl in the mix.
Physics vs. metaphysics, the duality of life. Head in the clouds, feet on the ground: my worldview.
"90 Days in Paris"
I have taken pictures for more than 40 years and written things for more than that. These documents are verbal and visual notes, curiosities and comments on my travels, freedom, fears, and boredom. Except for my book, Everything I Don't Know, I haven’t shown many of the pictures or words until now.
While on sabbatical in Paris I didn't have a studio and needed to activate somehow. I decided to attempt one of my own school projects that I give students who are stuck or lost.
Take at least 100 pictures a day, shoot anything, anywhere….shoot everything - no thinking, no planning, no set-up or light sensing - just shoot and see what happens. Look at them at the end of the day or not, and do it again the next day and the next day and the next.
Words have always been around me coming in and flowing out. Sometimes I can catch a few which will catch a few more…and if I'm lucky, I write them down. I like titles and the first lines of novels. I like country and western lyrics and weather reports. They are simple and direct and sometimes with a twist can take you further. The best ones go far beyond their initial meaning.
I ended up with close to 7000 images, 26 pages of text, 240 video clips, and more than a year of editing. These images and words found themselves together in that mysterious way that most of my work appears - by working and being present, trusting my gut, and going for the things that scare me.
"Here I Sit, Brokenhearted"
An installation on bathroom tiles where drawings make visceral vignettes, showing moments ranging from giving birth to getting booked. A shape-shifting protagonist emerges from the tiles. She morphs in time and race and limps along at odds with expectations but at one with viscera.
"Here I Sit, Brokenhearted" is about the ill fit of the body and how our most private moments can play out in the public sphere.
Helen Payne was born on Jamestown, RI, and was raised in Appalachia. She studied Poetry at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, painting and drawing at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, the Corcoran and the Maryland Institute, College of Art.
Helen’s paintings and drawings have been shown nationally including Fraser Gallery, Washington, DC, Woman-Made Gallery, Chicago, IL, and Mobius, Cambridge, MA.