You will find Helena Morris at her studio, ‘The Paint Tin Art Studio’ Tine Roof, down a quiet country road in Mouteka lined with native bush and gently ageing trees which in summer is warm and balmy filled with the smell of sweet flowers, the tweet of birds and the buzz of busy bees. This is quite fitting really consider Helena specialises in Encaustic art which uses hot bees wax resulting in an art form which provides a three dimension component to her work adding a multi dimensional quality.
When did Helena Morris began painting?
Will she always “dabbled” in the arts but Nursing held top billing for 23 years in combination with her love of travel. Then her children came along nearly 17 years ago and something odd took place and she found a fire lit inside her and her creative appetite growing restless.
Then as all good stories go one day the heroine found a book in the library about Encaustic Art and finally the fire had found found a furnace which could temper its heat. Encaustic art is form of art more than 200 years old which uses hot wax. The word encaustic originates from the Greek word enkaustikos which means to burn in, and this element of heat is necessary for a painting to be called encaustic.
Encaustic art has seen a resurgence in popularity since electric irons, hotplates and heated styli have made the application of the process less time consuming and increased variety of materials provides a variety limited by imagination alone.
Helena own variant of this ancient art form is hard to pinned down as her pieces vary in so many ways. Like the changing colour forms and heat of fire itself liquid moving and alive as heated wax. Pieces like ‘Nature’ and ‘In motion’ demonstrate a form of synesthesia or the ability to transfer abstract concepts such as time and numbers into visual form or vice versus take motion and translate it into a single still life frame.
‘Be You’ is surreal and reminiscent of Friedensreich Hundertwasser and Michel Smither. They offer both Hundertwasser’s ‘spiritual’ rejection of the rational which he termed “Transautomatism” while taking Smithers signature move his almost machine based linear patterns. The later conveying the ability to structure compositions.
One cannot wonder looking at Helena reoccurring subject of bees, such as ‘Landed’ (which are almost holographic in their presentation), as to whether Helena use of hot waxes and consequently her contact into the world of bees and hives has inadvertently provided her with an organic microscope into the interconnected nature of matter and life itself the forge of the universe.
Helena has since becoming a full time artist being selected as a finalist for the 2015 Parkin Drawing Prize and was a Top 10 Finalist in the Christchurch Art Awards in 2016. In June Helena exhibited at the NZ Art Show in Wellington. Helena’s art (when she not exhibiting) is available at Macmillan’s Gallery in Neudorf , Rd Nelson, or you can visit her at her studio ‘The Paint Tin Art Studio’ where Helena also offer the opportunity to come and explore the technique of Encaustic Art making.