Opening Reception: March 7, 2020
Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition of works by Bruce Helander, who is considered the most prominent collage artist in America. The show follows his most recent exhibition in the Chelsea art district of Manhattan, where he introduced a series of large-scale works based on collage studies that incorporate imagery produced by Pablo Picasso in the 1930s. Helander worked exclusively in collage compositions since graduating from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, and later was a regular contributing artist to The New Yorker Magazine. During the last decade the artist pursued experiments in collage that were intended as maquettes for large scale paintings on canvas.
Helander’s mother, who also was an artist and attended the Rhode Island School of Design, introduced Bruce as a child to abstract expressionism and cubism through her art schoolbooks. Appropriation has been a central aesthetic ingredient in the artist’s work, as the materials utilized in collage are normally from the printed page, which he rearranges into an original composition.
· “This work shows Helander’s strongest points as a collage artist -- an intelligent, unpretentious sense of both humor and design.” Amy Fine Collins, Art in America; editor, Vanity Fair
· “Helander utilizes the formal structure of collage, with its juxtaposition of images, to open up to viewers multiple layers of reality.” Sandra Yolles, ARTnews
· “Bruce Helander is a camp-it-up comedian, a shameless romantic, and an intelligent abstractionist: this is an unusual combination.” Jed Perl, The New Criterion
· “Bruce Helander masters his collages with wit, experience, and style. He is the unrivaled eye. His compositions toy, they entertain, they surprise, they awe.” Addison Parks, The Christian Science Monitor
· “Signor Bruce -- egreggio collaggiore! His clothes are a collage! His whole house is a collage! His whole weltanschauung is a collage. Helander out-collages Braque.” Tom Wolfe
Helander works are represented in over fifty museum collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Norton Museum of Art.