Helen Rebekah Garber

December 18, 2014, 8:52am

Signifier and Signified: Helen Rebekah Garber at Gallery Wendi Norris

Helen Rebekah Garber’s paintings must be heavy. They’re covered head to toe in thickly impastoed oil paint revealing a layered painting process that must surely take months to complete. The paintings (on view in “Numbers” at Gallery Wendi Norris through January 9, 2015) seem heavy not only because of their size and impastoed heft but also because from a distance their nearly monochromatic surfaces can resemble talismanic rock engravings. They hang on the walls like sacred tablets. There’s a kind of spiritual allusion in Garber’s forms, at once seeming to reference mandalas, religious altarpieces, and Mayan hieroglyphs. The paintings speak to a kind of transcendentalism that we also find in the paintings of Chris Martin (like “For Paul Thek”) or even Forrest Bess (like “Before Man”). But up close Garber’s paintings tell a different story. – Matt Smith Chavez, San Francisco Contributor


Helen Rebekah Garber |
Haniel I, 2014, Oil on linen, 60 x 60 inches (152.4 x 152.4 cm), Courtesy of Gallery Wendi Norris

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