…little threads that hold life's patches of meaning together.
—Mark Twain, “Morals and Memory" (Speech, March 7, 1906)
Helga Felleisen began working with cut vellum and light to simulate flickering sunlight in trees. The results reminded her of Plato’s allegory of the cave: We may not always recognize shadows for what they are. Memory determines how we perceive and what we imagine.
Memory has always intrigued her. Stateless at birth and an immigrant, Helga grew up between cultures. While traveling, especially as a student of Classical Archaeology, she cultivated a keen awareness of other cultural traditions. She collects traditional Greek and Turkish crafts. Made by hand, they retain memories of those who made them. The calm, repetitive motions that produced them resonate with her.
Like shadows in the cave, Helga’s art engages memory. Her work is conceptual. It references history and culture. It is contemplative.
Although her practice includes a variety of mediums, vellum is her primary material. Smooth, translucent and white, it reflects light. Similar to an archaeological excavation, she cuts away to reveal lines extracted from man-made patterns or drawn from nature. Installed, her work shifts between the disciplines of drawing, sculpture and installation. Cut lines become narrative as air currents, light and vellum intersect.
A universal element, water figures frequently as imagery. To Helga, the rhythm of the sea evokes emotions, thoughts and recollections. The tide carves out and fills in again. It binds past with present.
Felleisen received her Diploma (’06) and Fifth Year Certificate (’07) from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She shows her artwork in solo and group exhibitions. It is included in public and private collections. Helga works in arts-related positions, most recently as coordinator of Hyde Park Open Studios in Boston. She lives in York, Maine and maintains a studio in Hyde Park.