Artist: Helen Werner Cox
Exhibition: Silent Screams
Media: Oil pastel, prints, carving, water based material, etc.
Gallery: Gastov West Gallery
Helen Werner Cox showcases on of her last solo shows at California State University, Long Beach as she is expected to graduate this semester. Cox is currently a graduate who has showcased her work multiple times throughout her career. Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, she moved to California as she thought fine arts for 30 years. The biggest inspiration for her exhibit roots from carousels as she was amazed & fascinated by the appearance and its function. Her love of reading and art translated into her thirty year career as a teacher/librarian. In her early years of teaching in Boston, after getting her degree in art education from Boston University, Cox taught art in alternative education settings because desegregation issues prevented her from being hired at public schools.
Cox showcases an array of artistic techniques throughout her exhibit ranging from oil pastel, prints, carvings, paint, and water colors. She shows enthusiasm & hard work considering the fact that many of her pieces takes a long time to process. For example, in one of her prized pieces, “Silent Screams”, Cox not only shows a hybrid of artistic styles, but also her energy and dedication into her passion. Helen’s pieces in this exhibition include subjects related to carousels, but most importantly in this category is horses. Helen included lots of bold lines, pops of bright color and graceful figures of horses galloping.
Cox decided during this time at some point to go back to college, earning a masters in educational management from Lesley College. After earning her second degree, Cox moved to California where she had to start fresh because nobody in the area knew her. Starting fresh meant having the option of teaching high school or middle school students as an art teacher. Cox had already taught high school students quite a bit, so she decided to take the middle school teaching route. Cox believes that carousels is the perfect representation of her perspective as she channels both anxiety & creativity into her works. By looking into the horses’ facial expressions and the direction they’re going, they seem miserable in an endless spiral.
This wood carving took one year to complete from the sketching stages to the final finished product. Cox has experience in carving from a few years prior to attending CSULB and she decided to incorporate her knowledge into this show. Her inspiration was an English carousel centaur with two saddles.