April 11, 2021 Taos, New Mexico

The Harwood Museum of Art

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Friday, January 26 - Sunday, February 25, 2018

Helen Gene Nichols: Industrial Paisley  

Gallery: Studio 238
Helen Gene Nichols, Polka Rivets - Industrial Paisley Series, 2016. Archival Ink on Paper. Courtesy of the Artist.Helen Gene Nichols, Linked Fours - Industrial Paisley Series, 2016. Archival Ink on Paper. Courtesy of the Artist.Helen Gene Nichols, Brick Brack - Industrial Paisley Series, 2016. Archival Ink on Paper. Courtesy of the Artist.
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In the series “Industrial Paisley,” Helen Gene Nichols presents work through a fully immersive installation of patterned paper and scrolls that adorn one entire wall of the Peter & Madeleine Martin Atrium Gallery on the second floor of the Harwood Museum of Art. These ‘eye-popping’ designs come from her love of hotrods and surfboard illustrations, finding inspiration from the chopper detailing culture of Southern California. Her designs are playful and humorous, expressing the mechanical and the industrial, yet reveal a clean and clear message that plays with the eyes as the foreground and background vibrate before the viewer.

Nichols states, “I began designing patterns so I could use my own paper, folding origami. There was no looking back.” And, her use of the patterns has no limits. As a working artist in the digital age, she takes part in the on-demand, digital printing industry that prints custom fabric, wallpaper, and posters from independent artists from all over the world. Thus, her work has adorned anything from bedsheets to shirts, handbags to scarves.

Her Artist statement reads: “I love designing work that is modern, but nods to the optimistic early industrial illustrations and their details. I admire humor almost more than anything, so if I can incorporate both in a single image, so much the better.”

Nichols work represents a growing movement of Taos artists that are dependent upon digital platforms for the representation of their works. This platform provides the exposure of their creativity, with the artist’s work uploaded digitally, allowing third-party manufactures to create on-demand products to be shipped all over the world. Art, fine art, design and craft merge as a new evolution of Taos artists base themselves digitally in Taos while having their work manufactured and shared with the world.

Nichols received her BFA from San Francisco Art Institute in Printmaking. She worked in commercial photography in Omaha, Nebraska and then to work as a member of the Art Directors Guild in the Motion Picture Industry in Los Angeles. She is currently a Freelance Computer Art and Graphics Artist. She has shown her work in the Midwest and the West Coast. This is her first show in Taos.

Meet the Artist on February 9th, in conjunction with the Winter/Spring Exhibition, “Work by Women” – a Museum wide exhibition celebrating the Museum’s Collection of women artists. This event is free and open to the public.  For more information, contact the Harwood Museum of Art at 575.758.9826 x 109 or go to harwoodmuseum.org.