Bonita Helmer is an artist whose work exists at the intersection of science, art, and the human psyche. With a deep fascination for high-level scientific theories, she delves into the realms of space exploration, particle physics, and the inner workings of the human mind.
Her artistic journey takes her into the realms of naturally occurring and theoretical forms and structures that lend themselves to the expressive medium of gestural abstract painting.
In her artistic practice, Helmer finds inspiration in the enigmatic beauty of the cosmos. She often refers to the “repeating purity of the supernova,” a celestial phenomenon that captivates her imagination. What excites her even more is the fact, confirmed by her associations with scientists, that the world of subatomic, theoretical particles remains shrouded in mystery. It’s a realm where imagination knows no bounds, allowing her to, in her own words, “make it all up.” This boundless creative freedom has led her to cultivate a prolific body of work that, while distinctly abstract, possesses a unique blend of representation and pictorial storytelling.
The impermanence and the changing nature of everything in this world is one of the few constants in life, and it’s a truth internalized over and over again. I am fascinated with the natural phenomenon of constant change and how it connects all people. As human beings we all share basic needs and emotions. I express this through the mystery of exploring that which is not obviously seen but is nonetheless there; the unseen structures of nature and human response. I study physics, images from space laced with universal symbols combined with ancient spiritual beliefs in order to grasp what is seemingly everlasting and yet it is impermanent. In this new work I try to express a balance between concrete human made symbolic images (squares, triangles, geometrics) with organic universal shapes found in nature in order to create an oppositional pull; the feeling that something seems permanent but is in fact transitory. It is only in the silence of contemplation, meditation as well as prayer that the beauty and truth of impermanence can be experienced, Bonita Helmer 2023
Helmer’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Exhibitions include: Kunstraum F200 galerie, Philip Johnston Bl. Berlin; MOCA, Beijing; a solo show at L’Espace Bateau Lavoir, L’Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris; an official adjunct show as part of the MOCA Los Angeles, Whack retrospective of Women in Art; International Space Conference in Washington, DC.; Newport Harbor Art Museum (Orange County Museum of Art); Gallery Q, Tokyo; French Consulate/Alliance Francaise, Los Angeles; UCLA Dortort Center for the Arts, HUC Museum, NYU campus; Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA). Helmer has also done paintings as set design for performance pieces, one co-produced by CalArts and the other in part by an NEA grant.