September Exhibit: Helena Domenic, “Goddesses for Our Times”
My work is about exploring the places between and apart from ordinary reality. I love mythology, symbolism, and iconography and art is a means of finding my own symbolic language. I am often exploring the realm of dreams and the subconscious, and oftimes my paintings seem to develop their own will as I create them; I often feel guided towards using particular images.
I am interested in ritual and the nexus between ritual and art. I create ritual for rites of passage, for me these are about birth, death, and rebirth. Acts of transformation, from one state to another, are of immense importance to me. Sacred spaces, too, are important – liminal places where one may experience transformation from one state, or one place, to another.
I am an educator. I see teaching as a calling, a vocation, a means for helping others go from one place to another. Through education, we transform ourselves; my students teach me as much as I teach them, perhaps they teach me more. Studying and teaching the history of art – both western and African art – reminds me of my own place in the cosmos, and of how context and perception shape our experiences of art.
I enjoy working with a variety of media including acrylics, watercolors, clay, beads, and found objects. I enjoy employing whatever items I may find into a particular piece as adornment, enhancement, and a way to further my message. I have long been fascinated with medieval and Renaissance altarpieces and the multiple panels displaying different parts of a story or theme, and I have brought that fascination into my own work.
My influences include Agnes Pelton, Leonor Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe, Judy Chicago, Leonor Fini and Marybeth Edelstein. I also love the Romantics, particularly the Pre-Raphaelites. I’m interested in studying how the current Technological Revolution is much like the Industrial Revolution, and fascinated by the way in which artists respond to these changes. I often feel as though I am rebelling against the Technological Age through my work. I am interested in forms that are more organic, in processes that are done by hand.
We live in perilous times. Each day the news is filled with horrors that should be unspeakable. I am speechless when faced with these terrors being experienced by people all over the world, and by the frightening prospect of what the future may hold. Art is a bridge which allows us to cross gaps we might not have anticipated, helps us to contend with whatever the world may throw our way. Art helps us to speak the unspeakable, to heal the wounds of individuals and cultures. Art is essential.
I believe in art and in the power of art.
Helena Domenic was born in Vicenza, Italy where she developed a love of art at a very early age, touring the Sistine Chapel at the age of eighteen months. Helena received her BFA in Fine Art from Kutztown University and her MA in Art Education from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Helena completed her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Helena’s work at Goddard was focused upon the nexuses between visual and performing arts, ritual and theater, and serving one’s community through the arts, as well as a concentration in African Studies. She is an Associate Professor of Fine Art at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches a variety of art history courses.
Helena’s artwork has appeared in publications such as Faerie magazine, Green Egg, Sage Woman, and other publications. In addition to teaching at Cheyney, Helena has taught at The University of the Arts, and a variety of conferences and festivals around the country. Helena has organized art exhibits for the Cheyney University campus and her work has appeared in art galleries around the world, including Egypt and South Africa.
Helena currently lives in Exton with her husband Sean and two cats: Piper and Cassandra.