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HELEN HOLLEMANS

UK

THE NETHERLANDS

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Born in Leeds (UK) in 1964, Hollemans attended Jacob Kramer Art College in the early 80's experimenting with different techniques from screen printing to woodwork. Since early childhood she created art and items in a variety of media, deciding to expand her knowledge at Manchester Polytechnic in Design History which allowed her to develop skills in glassblowing, ceramics, metalwork, textiles and print media.

After establishing a design business, the austerity years of the 1980s required a complete direction change, and Hollemans found herself in the corporate world developing IT and management skills. Her artistic side was never far away, and this new environment offered an opportunity to express her creativity in completely new ways, seeking inspiration from the complexities and challenges she now faced.

A resident of The Hague, (Netherlands) for more than 25 years, Hollemans developed her successful corporate career whilst privately continuing her creative expression through ceramics. She established her own small studio developing her skills with throwing pots, glazing techniques and creating small sculptures. This is where her love of textures and the tactile nature of art really began to develop and is now showing through in her paintings.

When osteoarthritis in her hands took away the strength and ability to manipulate the clay, Hollemans took to painting with energy and vigor, discovering a passion for a brand-new medium. “It took more than a year to accept I could no longer work with ceramics, it was a very difficult process. One of the most exciting things was walking into the room and smelling the clay and glazes and the anticipation that always triggered in me.” This same feeling has been replaced for her with the oils, varnish and wonderful aromas in the painting room which are always inspiring. 

Exploring the new mediums of acrylic and oil and the resulting expressions of bold colours and textures have grown into an unstoppable desire to create. 

CREATIVE PROCESS

The fascination with bold colours and linear expression draws inspiration from Hollemans’ extensive travels.  The abstract interpretation of images and experiences Hollemans has enjoyed can transport the viewer from a harsh winter in Sakhalin to the sizzling heat of Mysore.  For example, Hollemans recalls one adventure in Mauritius - “The mangroves along the shoreline allowed a tantalising glimpse of the intense colour of the sea behind with the craggy branches blocking the overall view is an image firmly fixed in my mind.  The beauty of the light against the dark lines was quite magical.” The lines and colours create an overall feeling of containment and anticipation.

This concept of 'containment' is explored in several pieces with brazen black lines holding back the multitude of colourful blocks.  "Windows" is a prime example creating chaotic explosions behind bold dark lines. The observer needs to peer through carefully to explore the different states of the paint behind.

The waste in our society, discarded and unwanted shapes also provides inspiration for Hollemans in how she creates her pieces. Expired credit cards and the multitude of plastic store cards are used instead of palette knives to build the many lines and merge the paint, giving significance and purpose to these wasted items.  “Even feathers can create the most wonderful textures when dragged through paint on the canvas” says Hollemans.

    © 2020 by Hansford and Sons Fine Art Ltd.

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