Seager Gray Gallery presents “Arbors of Imagination”, an exhibition of paintings, drawings and mixed media works by artist Helen Stanley. The exhibition begins with a reception for the artist from 6 to 8 PM on Friday, February 1 and runs through March 2. It is accompanied by a catalog with essay by Paul Liberatore.
Helen Stanley creates idealized works of astonishing detail. The adherence to nature in them is astounding, but they are neither from photographs or plein air. They come entirely from observation and memory. An avid hiker and world traveler, Stanley takes delight in the idiosyncracies and humor in nature. She relishes the red bark of the Madrone tree and its improbable contrast with the bright green wood underneath. Her works are populated by the multitude of “critters” actually there, but seldom included in most artist works, all rendered with amazing fidelity.
Helen Stanley came to the Bay Area in 1966 to attend the San Francisco Art Institute. She grew up in Farmington, New Mexico and remembers that her very first oil paintings, created when she was in the fifth grade were of the cottonwood trees that grow along the rivers there. Her late mother, an elementary school teacher, recognized young Helen’s artistic talent and would take her on excursions to New Mexico’s Colorado Plateau so that she could practice drawing the dramatic landscape and develop her extraordinary powers of observation.
Stanley studied with Bruce McGaw, Julius Hatofsky and Stephen de Staebler at the Art Institute and then moved to the print department where she could put her advanced drawing skills to better use. There she was able to work with Kathan Brown and Gordon Cook. Stanley married the then head of the Sculpture Department, Rodger Jacobsen and moved to Marin. After a delay of a few years, she attended Sacramento State for her Masters degree, studying there with Joseph Raffael and Bill Allan. She has been widely exhibited in many galleries including Paule Anglim Gallery, the William Sawyer, Susan Cummins and the Donna Seager Gallery.