Helge Duemmel, The Geometric Artist
By Kate Hall
Published in Art*i*facts Magazine Winter Issue 2015
Sets, their unions and intersections all conjure up frustrating lessons from school days past. Rays, lines and segments are close cousins to algebra, the dreaded mathematical study that is thought to have little use outside of academia. Lessons are learned for a time and disregarded for life. Not so with the geometric artist, Helge Duemmel.
Duemmel’s recently won Best of Show for his geometric abstract piece “Europa Lilies” at the current exhibit featured at the Lakeland Center through February. Being abstract in nature, each member of the audience is free to interpret the painting with their own unique perspective. I am no different. I look at the organic shapes and try to discern a flora theme, as the name implies. Graceful, devoid of brush strokes, transparencies and opacities are weaved throughout. Art is a method of communication. The question is, what is the artist trying to say?
The inspiration for the creation of Duemmel’s Europa Lilies is unexpected to say the least. When asked about his piece, Duemmel offers, “it is part of my new series of ‘Blooming Moons.’ This series focuses on using organic shapes to capture extra-terrestrial landscapes.’” He went on to describe the moons of our solar system as influential and offered a sneaking insight to his upcoming work will reflect “global warming and Mother Earth’s face of tears.”
Being a German immigrant, Duemmel shares with me a history of uncertainty and repression. He was inspired as a child by the illustrations of Grimm’s fairytales. He shares, “there was no time for art in my childhood. It was about survival and relocation.” After serving in the German Navy, Duemmel relocated to the United States in the 70’s. He had studied art at Clark University, but like so many artists, needed the reliable income that he found as a teacher of Geometry. While teaching art, he began to dabble in art, mostly in watercolors and with a sense of realism, which is quite removed from his style today. In truth, Duemmel has been keeping geometry alive in his art works.
Duemmel began his progression towards hardline abstract art when he was introduced to silk screen printing by a friend and fellow artist. He describes it as, “very, very nitpicky! Right up my alley.” This explanation makes sense because one of the self-imposed goal of his works, “I try to eliminate all evidence of brush strokes.” He first began to receive acceptance and approval for his work in SoHo in the 80’s. Duemmel sets a high standard for himself. “It is most rewarding when I have a flawless piece, well-done and near perfection.” He goes on to say that he remains detached from his works and they are not difficult for him to part with. Apparently this serves him well, as most of his past works have sold in shows related to his teaching career, and in the galleries in Massachusetts where he displayed his work for years.
A resident of Lakeland for the past 13years, Duemmel continues to find new avenues for his art. Being primarily encouraged by his wife, Linda, who he jokes about being his agent, he says, “I can now focus on art in my retirement.” For more information on this other worldly artist, please visit his website at www.helgeduemmel.com
or visit his current exhibit at The Lakeland Center.
Drawing Parallels: Gregory Jones
As Published in Art*i*facts Magazine Volume 17 Number 5
By Kate Hall
It is often said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Along the journey of life, many experience their own brand of irrefutable proof that there is indeed a force larger than one’s self. For the devout artist, imitation draws a parallel between The Creator and the creative that is the very fulfillment of a soul’s longing. Gregory Jones is one such spiritual creative who is quick to acknowledge Divine influence among his life and work.
At first glance, Jones’ work appears complex in thought and most curious in content. Self-described as serious and seldom playful, Jones’ work is his avenue of expression. Being a mixed media artist his works include painting, assemblage and everything in between. The artist’s use of mundane objects often creates an air of controversy while drawing parallels to life experiences. Most striking is his affinity for layering and contrasting cold industrial textures with softer fibers. Jones develops a dynamic paradox with his use of transparent and opaque materials which create fields of view like a guided path for the eyes to wander.
One’s early childhood memories often resonate deeply into one’s being, ever reaching, like ripples in a pool. Jones’ work is reflective of this truth. When asked about his use of bottles and cans, a common theme throughout much of his collection, Jones recalled a memory from his childhood chore list when he burned excess trash in the family fire pit. Sometimes the bottles and cans would be left charred and smoky, but otherwise steadfast in their original form. Jones was fascinated by their transformation and often fished the smoky remains from the ashes. Like a phoenix rising, these humble vessels would form the basis for his award winning works.
When asked how he came to discover his artistic calling, Jones replied ironically, “It (art) discovered me in high school.” Art has since become the driving force. Jones has continued to captivate national audiences with his complex pairings. Jones has achieved a much coveted level of success and his awards number over one thousand. Among those lauding his excellence, is Robert Hughes, art critic for Time Magazine, as well as the curators and directors of the Guggenheim, N.Y. C. and Smithsonian in Washington D. C. Despite the many accolades from some of the art world’s biggest A-listers, he has maintained an air of humble relatability that compliments his spiritual nature and his stratified creations. “I owe so much to my wife, Janet, for her many years of support”
The ripples continue reaching. In his simple studio bathed in natural light, Jones often compares his creative process to his childhood strolls through the Virginia woods. First the conscious decision to create is made and then the first steps are taken. From there, creativity never fails to join him on the journey like a faithful friend there to guide the way.
Gregory Jones regularly exhibits through the Lakeland Art Guild showcasing at the Lakeland Center. Jones also participates in the Ridge Art Association of Winter Haven. For more information on Jones, his work and where you can see his exhibited works, please contact the artist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I usually write about myself on this blog, but I thought it might be nice to share some of my interviews with other artists. This article was written by Kate Hall (Me!) for the Lakeland Art Guild and Published by Artifacts Magazine Summer Edition. After taking some time off from writing, it was fun to see my work published again. Next article should have my Byline. Enjoy!
The preservation of life is carried out by tiniest of winged pollinators. The Grand Canyon is defined by the rushing waters of the Colorado. Forces of nature forge a path of beauty and inspiration and so it is with the creative naturalist. Acclaimed wildlife artist, Wayne Chunat, first realized biology as his muse in the seventh grade. Throughout college and his civilian career with Cleveland Metroparks, Chunat continued to chase his muse. Through both career and canvas he knew his purpose. “I was to instill a sense of wonder and our relationship to the natural world.”
Chunat majored in biological sciences, and art was developed as a secondary priority.
Careful consideration was taken to study that which would enhance his creative development while providing a stable income. Primarily a self- taught artist, Chunat explored workshops on both local and national levels. Influencing artists include Don Altemus, Arleta Pech, Robert Bateman, John Seere Lester, Hiner Hertling, John Banovich, Fred Leach, George Wervey, and David Rankin. ”Now, forty plus years later, I am still searching for and developing new techniques & methods.” Truly, achievers never stop acquiring knowledge.
Well versed in a variety of mediums, acrylics are preferred. Classified as representational, Chunat prefers to disregard photorealism and allow the audience perspective license. The process often begins as a sketch, mapping out possibilities. Painting requires intimate familiarity. True vision is prized; knowing the subject and its relation to surroundings is essential. Chunat shares his secret ingredient for successful painting, ”When you add the rhythm of life you will touch the emotions, engage the viewer, they will become involved and attached.”
Validation and recognition for one’s art are every artist’s dream. He has been fortunate in that regard as his work has amassed accolades and delighted collectors for decades. Chunat belongs to a number of posh associations, including the Artists for Cider Painters of America, Miniature Art Society of Florida, and most recently, the Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Engravers Association, Washington DC. Memberships in such international groups are often restrictive and serve as a pinnacle of achievement.
When asked about his studio, Chunat romanced an ideology that many creatives share. “I like to think that the real studio is in the wild; the unexpected encounters, imaginative thinking, digital photos, and field sketches with notations.” His actual home studio is encompassed by a humble 10 x 12 room, carefully lit and made lively by the presence of his beloved pets. Containment has become more fluid, “I now paint to minimize size, brush and pigment. Most of my works are now 11x14” to 3x5”. The works themselves may be miniature, but as the saying goes: dynamite comes in small packages.
Chunat continues to forge his way as a newly fulltime Florida resident. Together with his wife they plan to explore every element of nature Florida has to offer. Chunat hopes to produce a body of works depicting their experiences, in addition to pursuing ways to using his arwork to benefit charities local to and surrounding Polk County. His works are locally on exhibit at the Lakeland Center through the Lakeland Art Guild and through the Woodbrook Arts Community. Learn more or contact the artist by visiting www.natureartists.com/wayne_chunat.asp