Christina Dallas presents: “Militants,gangsters and some other friends…”, The Art of Adam Helms and Patrick Lee
Militants,gangsters and some other friends…
A project curated by Chrsitina Dallas
The work of two vastly different contemporary artists who choose portraiture as there primary medium, in the form of drawings. Each choosing to investigate into the mystique of the sometimes violent and dark, seemingly otherworld of sub cultures of certain groups of men. The two artists take on contemporary portraiture and their insights into the signs of our times, its heroes , rebels ,and it’s villains. Referencing the history of portraiture and It’s place in society, who is chosen to be drawn or painted, and there ultimate relationship to the artist who renders it.
The artist Adam Helms chooses to look into the lives of militant guerillas, insurgents, radical political groups and other anonymous male subversives. Born in 1974, in Tuscon , Arizona. Helms currently lives in New York, . The show,Without Name ,2010 at Marianne Boesky Gallery, is centered around the primary piece,Untitled,48 portraits 2010. This work is a reference to Gerhard Richter’s 1972, show 48 portraits of 20 th century icons.The drawings are based on photos the artist found online.The figures included in Richter’s show where such men as Einstein, and Kafka. Helms chooses his subjects from anonymous masked faces, and describes himself as a ethnographer. Documenting in charcoal on paper, the psychology of radical political groups and the masked faces behind them The faces are often barely rendered a face, merely a inkblot depersonalized by paranoia, .Although some of these men are rumored to be policeman, therefore suggesting a equivalence with, and no differentiation between the rebels and officials..Helms has no known interactions with his subjects. The portraits are all of different men who personify the same fears .Experimenting with concepts of anonymity and the harsh realities behind human consciousness.
In contrast , is Patrick Lee, born in 1969, in Butte, Montana, His works are drawn with graphite on paper.
Lee’s drawing are not of anonymous men but delve deeply into the lives of the iconography of a subculture of men .With extreme intimacy and a delving into every detail of their tattooed and scared faces, Lee brings his subjects close. With names such as green eyes, and Trusty, there faces wear the stories of there lives.The show Deadly Friends, at Ameriner/McEnery/Yohe, in New York, 2013, draws deeply into the subjective darkness of these men , questioning there otherness.
The lines between self and other become blurred by the clinical detail of realism. These portraits are impeccable and rendered down to the pores of men who one might theorize would not ever let anyone get this close. They are
beautifully empathetic and full of honor. Both Helms and Lee draw into the darkness of men and render a certain light or shade of there shadow.