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COAST WEEKEND: Helga Winter explores change, materials in new solo exhibition at Imogen Gallery (070

Wednesday, July 6, 2016   (0 Comments)
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COAST WEEKEND: Helga Winter explores change, materials in new solo exhibition at Imogen Gallery (0705/2016)

Helga Winter, renowned for her three-dimensional work, is returning to Imogen Gallery for her third solo exhibition. Respected internationally for her exceptional lathe turned wood pieces, Winter is known for pushing of boundaries to keep her work fresh.

The exhibition opens July 9 during Astoria’s Second Saturday Art Walk, with a reception held from 5 to 8 p.m. All are invited to attend the reception and meet Winter, who will be available to answer questions about her work. Light bites and beverages will be provided by Astoria Coffeehouse & Bistro. “A Passion For Change” will remain on display through Aug. 9.

Winter, of Port Townsend, Washington, has long been respected for her skills with a lathe and turning green madrone. She is considered a pioneer in working with the species, one that is known as an ornery wood to use for turning. Today, she still can be found at the lathe, turning vessels and utilizing the instability of madrone to its full advantage in creating elegant and graceful forms. For the past several years, she has been exploring the surface of her turned forms by embellishing with dyes and wax resist; this process has since acted as a spring board to further personal development of her art.

For this current series, Winter addresses something that is inherent to her work: evolution and change. It is important to Winter to maintain a sense of freedom in her work. Success for some is measured by steady sales; but this can work against an artist as their clientele and dealers become dependent on the expected, limiting any personal growth as a creative individual. For Winter, it is crucial to her process to explore, using alternative materials.

“Life is about change, transformation and growth,” she says. “In my work I mimic life — I like to change my materials, transform them into something altered, yet recognizable — at least most of the time.”

This series will include an alternative medium, vessels made from tea paper, the soft paper that pillows your morning tea. Winter will also include some of her more traditional madrone turned vessels and wall-hung pieces, created from repurposed pages from books. Her use of materials is held in balance to her technical skill and execution. She practices quiet patience in the development of each piece, with calculated results that still impart a sense of random beauty.

She elaborates further on the series: “I especially appreciate the opening up and looking inside that I get to do with the tree, the book and the tea leaves. My concept or intention is most often quietly hovering in the background of my awareness. I have learned to trust and follow its subtle lead. In my work I explore the unknown. Through repeated covering, layering, exposing, sanding and scraping, the piece evolves and becomes known to me — only to be discovered anew through the beholder’s imagination.”

Winter has enjoyed a remarkable career, beginning with studies under the tutelage of master woodturner’s Rude Osolink and David Ellsworth. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum as well as the Arrowmont School of Art and Craft. She also is honored to have been a past juror and awarded Best of Show for the prestigious Art In The Pearl, an annual art fair held in the heart of Portland’s Pearl District. Most recently her work was selected for inclusion to Turning 30 Invited Artist, American Association of Woodturners ‘Why Wood? Contemporary Practice in a Timeless Material’ held at the annual Sculptural Objects Functional Art and Design exhibition in Chicago, the premiere art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design.

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