Last week I visited Cincinnati painter Halena Cline in her studio at Pendleton Art Center.
I had first seen Halena’s work at a studio open house. Her large studio is packed. With work: framed work, unframed work, finished work, work in progress, small work, large work, work in vertical files, work in stacks, work in piles. Also packed with all manner of art making materials: paints, inks, wax, pastels, pens, markers, linoleum blocks, ready made stamps. The work struck me as so authentic, personal and passionate. We chatted for a few minutes but it was way too hectic to take in that evening so I made arrangements to come back.
And even on a very quiet, wintery week-day afternoon I was once again overwhelmed. This work is raw, un-self-conscious, un-studied and ferocious, overloaded with paint and personal iconography. Halena has been making art since childhood and has had a full-time studio practice sine 1990. Seeing and talking to her in her studio surrounded by her work one gets a very strong sense of her explosive drive, compelled as she is by profound personal experience and a keen sense of personal and social responsibility.
Works like the three above invite speculation into Helana’s personal iconography, but she artfully declined to wade into that territory. As we talked she pulled books off her bookshelf, quickly thumbing through and talking about her interest in early 20th century Surrealism, Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington among others. In 1988 she saw the Italian Futurist, Umberto Bocciono retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was deeply moved.
Several of these life size figures inhabit Halena’s studio.
More work is also incarnated in bound books.
For additional insight into Halena’s work, see this article that appeared in AEQAI Magazine, published in December, 2014.
Halena can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org or through her website.