Michael von Helms

Micheal von Helms' Work
6 February 2019
Micheal von Helms' Work
Dimmitt Contemporary Art is pleased to announce Soul Work: Michael von Helms, an exhibition of oil paintings by Houston-based artist Michael von Helms (b. 1939,) February 7 - March 14, 2019, with an opening reception on February 7, 6-8 pm.  Following the group exhibition Emergence, which celebrated the October 2018 opening of our new gallery space, we present Soul Work: Michael von Helms as the first solo exhibition of art to inaugurate our new gallery.

Michael von Helms has spoken definitively about his career-long compulsion to inhabit the realm of Abstract Expressionism.  The artist’s chosen style of abstraction satisfies two vital imperatives: pictorial resolution of form on canvas and emotional integration.  According to von Helms, he “rearranges and reconfigures,” abandons and returns, to re-work color, line and form, while “basically painting my emotions.”  The struggle is complete when painterly resolution coheres with self-realization. Von Helms perceives this creative process as profoundly significant, he has called the desired integration “salvation.”

Von Helms’s pictorial language borrows from major innovations in modernism.  Brushstrokes range from sweeping and exuberantly gestural, to linear, with three-dimensionality in some forms, compositional balance being the overall effect. Warm tones contrast with cool, while dabs of pure unmixed pigments are interspersed with thinned, translucent, scraped-off and blended strokes for tonal and textural unity. Particular developments steered Michael von Helms to a painting career.  Fine art and art history graduate studies which sparked scholarly interest in artistic developments, were followed by interaction with the art of Kandinsky, Matisse, Picasso, others at MOMA while he practiced professional photography in New York. Also being included in the seminal 1986 “Fresh Paint” exhibition at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Drawn to the biomorphic and gestural abstraction of Arshile Gorky and Willem de Kooning, commitment drove Von Helms to paint “obsessively” (his word) for nearly thirty years in Santa Fe.  Throughout, he felt the inner necessity of resolution on canvas and raw emotions. The artist relocated back to Houston in 2016.

Dimmitt Contemporary Art is an art gallery located in Houston, Texas. After working as an independent art advisor for 8 years, Kathy expanded the business in 2018 to include exhibitions at a new gallery space located at 3637 West Alabama Street, Suite 160, Houston Texas.  The gallery offers group and solo exhibitions of art by emerging and established artists.