HELEN. LEVIN (b) The Bronx, NY, USA, 1940)
BIO AND STATEMENT
I was born with a crayon in my hand, and drew regularly since early childhood.
My mother painted and received art instruction in our home when I was a child, and
I marveled at her and her women friends, as they sat around our large dining room table
every week to apply themselves to composing pictures in oil paint.
I chose a college with a good art program (Hunter College of C.U.N.Y.), and the intense
fine arts major of the B.F.A. degree program. I received that degree in 1962 in painting, cum laude, and with monetary scholarships for graduate school. I was accepted into the M.F. A. Program in painting at Columbia University, and received that degree in 1963. I painted and exhibited my artwork steadily since obtaining those degrees, although I combined my art work with teaching, raising a son, and being a homemaker. My major mediums are acrylic on canvas and paper, collage of my hand painted papers, and painted sculptural artists books and shaped paintings. I have been inspired by nature, song, travels and contemporary architecture. I love the colorful works of de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, and Kandinsky.
I have a longtime interest and engagement with abstraction, and I began that trajectory in
college, although my evolution toward abstract art was gradual. I insisted on finding my own
unique voice and not be imitative. Along the way, after 1980, I began using collage as a jump-
off point, working my ideas with colored papers, then letting those compositions be the basis
of a series of my paintings. The Voyages of the Spirit series, from which Chimeric Pond and
Aegean Fantasy emerged, are examples of this approach. Two works from that series are
in the permanent collection of the NY Public Libraries, on the walls of the Stapleton Branch Library’s newly renovated facility (Nature and Marketplace). Chimeric Pond was inspired
by a poem, L’Etang Chimerique, by French poet and composer, Leo Ferre.
Some of my career accolades include having my paintings in eight permanent museum collections, including two in the Staten Island Museum, one painting in the Museum of the City of New York. I have a painting in the National Museum of Dance, and a collage in the Museum of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg, FL. My artist’s books are in the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I have received exhibition and art grants rom the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, and the Chenven Foundation. In addition, I have exhibited my paintings in solo shows in galleries in Woudrichem, the Netherlands, Nice, France, and New York City, plus a group show in Berlin, Germany. My art was featured in a variety of articles, and in these books: Jewish Women Artists from Around the World by Hedwig Brenner, and a book, self published
Dutch art collector, Jan Verhoeven: How Abstract Art Changed Society. I also curated about eight large group exhibits over the years, including for Nabisco Brands Gallery and Chubb Insurance corporate space. Staten Island Museum featured me in a 2-person exhibition with my son, Golan Levin (new media artist and professor art at Carnegie Mellon University). Title: Gesture in Paint and Software. My personal interests include modern dance and French chansons poetiques.Website: HELENLEVIN.COM.