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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Currently Hanging

posted by on October 23 at 10:29 AM

Bob Helm’s Literary Evening (1996), oil on panel and wood inlay, 22 1/2 by 18 by 2 inches

This one goes out to Jack Dollhausen. For years Dollhausen and Bob Helm have been friends and compatriots, artists happily spending evenings on their Eastern Washington porches rather than chasing down notoriety in big-city scenes.

That all changed Tuesday, when Helm, only 65, died at Pullman Regional Hospital after just a brief illness. (Dollhausen, too, has been ill lately but is on the mend, according to Beth Sellars, who spoke about the two friends at a public art talk last night.)

The painting above is hanging in Century 21, the current exhibition of Washington artists selected by Seattle dealers (at Wright Exhibition Space). Helm was chosen to be in the show by Jim Harris, the Pioneer Square contemporary dealer whose style is marked by a certain delicacy and minimalism. (Harris shows Jeffry Mitchell, Claude Zervas, and Mary Ann Peters, to name a few.) If it is still possible to talk about beauty without getting all gummed up, then it’s fair to say that the aesthetic of James Harris Gallery is the most beautiful in the city.

Which is not an underhanded way of saying it’s dumb—not at all. Harris’s choices show heart and mind. Helm is a perfect case. His paintings (here’s a striking example) are quiet, gorgeously refined, and extremely personal. They feel like locked boxes of secrets edited over a lifetime.

Here’s some more information about Helm.

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At a glance I thought it was a guy in a Klan uniform standing in front of a cross.

It's nice though, after a second look.

Posted by sepiolida | October 23, 2008 11:16 AM

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