Sep 21, 2015
(born 8 October 1948) is an Austrian-Irish visual artist. He has worked as a painter, draftsman, photographer, muralist, sculptor, installation and performance artist, using a wide variety of techniques and media. Helnwein studied at the University of Visual Art in Vienna (Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien). His early work consists mainly of hyper-realistic watercolors, depicting wounded and mistreated children, as well as performances – often with children – in public spaces. Helnwein is concerned primarily with psychological and sociological anxiety, historical issues and political topics. As a result of this, his work is often considered provocative and controversial. Helnwein lives and works in Ireland and Los Angeles.
Sep 18, 2015
" In my most recent work I am using clay to build figurative sculptures of humans encased in animals. I use delicate and emotive gesture, rich texture, and subdued, sepia tones to create telling, intimate objects that capture current psychological, environmental, and cultural feelings. The figures are contemplative and inward thinking, seeing a future outcome that is uncertain. The animals I use are either extinct or have become endangered due to human impact in this era of “great acceleration” since the Industrial Revolution. The concepts behind the work are about our contemporary environmental issues while the visual structure pursues a totemic feel. I am looking at visual material including Native American ceremonial masks and regalia, Byzantine and Renaissance devotional painting, secular portraits and altarpieces, and Egyptian antiquities. I am interested in how human advancements in technology, agriculture, and urbanization have imposed stress on natural ecosystems and the species that live within them. Through my sculptures I try to humanize these ideas and present them in a way that is accessible, interesting, and conversation provoking. I hope that the viewer comes away from my work thinking and asking questions about our role as humans on the earth and our relationship to other living beings. I hope to raise awareness of these urgent issues while also showing our humanity, ingenuity, and ability to be flexible and innovate as species." - Crystal Morey