new-york

Robert Helm

Edward Thorp Gallery

This was Robert Helm’s first solo exhibition in New York. Helm, who is in his middle 40s and lives in Pullman, Washington, can be characterized as an accomplished artist who makes no concessions to New York attitudes or styles. If anything, his work—both its concerns and the way it’s made—can be seen as antithetical to New York’s declamations of the end of Modernism, self-consciousness, notions of grand themes, and heroic and antiheroic attitudes.

Helm is both a painter and a craftsman. Each of the pieces in the exhibition combines inlaid wood and painted images in an inventive trompe l’oeil manner and incorporates an intricate, inlaid wood frame, which is sometimes arched, like a medieval window. Consequently, the viewer is always trying to distinguish the painted from the “real,” examining the works by moving from a comfortable distance away to up close in order to do so. This deliberate

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