Helen Stanley’s sculptural paintings are beautifully drawn, realistically rendered portrayals of daily life—bowls, baskets, dishes, sticks, and windows. But a closer inspection reveals much more than initially meets the eye.
Perched there in front of you, her wall-mounted sculptures exude a quality at odds with the normalcy of that first impression. There’s an edgy, sometimes deliciously menacing sense that makes viewers stop in their tracks. My pieces do have sort of a slow draw. I like to bring people in gradually and then…” And then surprise them.
Jostle them a bit.
Many of Stanley’s acrylic and oil sculptural pieces feature vessels of different types. “They’re attractive to me, partially because they’ve always been associated with the feminine. They represent a thoughtful place, a protective womb where creation takes place and growth occurs.” They hold water and they hold food.
Stanley, now living in the Bay Area, grew up in Farmington, New Mexico where the ground was liberally salted with the rubble of previous cultures—the Anasazi, as well as the more modern Navajo, Apache, and Ute tribes. This early exposure to cultural artifacts helped open Stanley’s eyes to the other cultures of the world and to the objects made by people as an expression of both practicality and spirituality.
A seasoned traveler, Helen also records her journeys with pen and ink resulting in intimate views of places she’s seen.