Sophie von Hellermann is best known for her large-scale, romantic, pastel-washed canvases, which are often installed to suggest complex narrative threads. Applying pure pigment on to unprimed canvas, Hellermann’s use of broad-brushed washes imbue her pictures with a sense of weightlessness so that objects and figures are spread with ease and economy across the picture plane. Von Hellermann’s paintings draw upon current affairs as often and as fluidly as they borrow from the imagery of classical mythology and literature to create expansive imaginary places. She says, "what interests me is how the mind works and how dream images come together from things you've seen, read, and experienced both years ago and yesterday." Translating and combining both found and mental images into paint with an almost automatist spontaneity, she explores the invented space of the unconscious rather than the perspectival space of direct observation. With her swift mark-making her paintings seem refreshingly unburdened by the weight of the past and Hellerman is able to move freely between demonstrations of great facility and a total rejection of it.
Images courtesy of Vilma Gold, London
Sophie von Hellermann