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ARTIST STATEMENT

In my practice, I confront the varying parts of me, how they fit together, and how they sometimes clash. My creative work is motivated by a desire to explore identity, both alone and collaboratively. The common thread running through my paintings, sculptures, and community-based projects is its human focus. I am attracted to the presence of contradiction in identity, therefore, my work aims to compose opposing forces harmoniously and in various media. I juxtapose notions of femininity and strength, divinity and normalcy, beauty and the mundane, to not only reconcile my own contradictions, but to question societal notions of race, gender, and beauty. Art-making is how I reconceive identity, and make space for myself.

BIO

Helen Juliet Atkins is an artist and curator from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her studio practice and public works are human focused and often socially engaged. She is biracial and bicultural; White American, and Black Venezuelan. Atkins has created public murals, mosaics, and sculptures in Albuquerque that honor everyday people. In 2021 she was a selected artist for the Lowe's Home Improvement “100 Murals'' national project.  She also collaborates with her husband Will Geusz on public works across the country. In 2021, they were Artists in Residence at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center in Cincinnati. In 2022 they completed "Mullein & Mallow, '' a series of mosaic artworks at the FortLogan Mental Health Institute in Denver, Colorado. Atkins is the Associate Director of Opportunity, and Co-Lead Artist of the Arts & Social Justice Apprenticeship at Harwood Art Center. She was one of 19 Artists selected to create installations for "Wo/Manhouse 2022" a project organized by Judy Chicago's "Through the Flower Art Space." In 2018 she was a recipient of the inaugural Women in Creativity “Shine” Awards, which honors creative women and their community impact. Atkins co-founded Plates Against Patriarchy, a visual arts and storytelling project. While working on collaborative projects, she is building a body of work that explores notions of gender, beauty and identity; this work has been shown in galleries locally and internationally in Berlin, Germany. She is committed to nourishing the creative eco-system of her community. Thus, much of her work lies in organizing opportunities for her peers.

 

CV HIGHLIGHTS

EXHIBITIONS & INSTALATIONS:

2022 Wo/ManHouse 2022, Presented by Through the Flower, Belen, New Mexico, (group)

 

2021 Fragility, Secret Gallery. Albuquerque New Mexico, (solo)

2020 soft, the Harwood Art Center. Albuquerque New Mexico, (solo) 

2019  "Lady's Club" A Room For Ones Own, birds + Richard, Berlin, Germany (group)

PUBLIC WORKS:

"Mullein & Mallow " exterior handmade ceramic mosaic panels made in collaboration with Will Geusz, FortLogan Mental Health Institute of Denver, Colorado 2022

"Unidos" exterior steel sculpture made in collaboration with Ryan Henel and the Harwood Art Center Apprenticeship Team, Mesa Verde Park, Albuquerque New Mexico, 2019

ARTIST TALKS:

National Hispanic Cultural Center History Festival in conjunction with the temporary mural “Hidden Histories” 2020

MEDIA

"Wo/Manhouse"  Review by Lauren Tresp, SouthWest Contemporary, Vol.6 Rooted: Poetics of Place, Southwest Contemporary Magazine August 26, 2022

 

"Judy Chicago’s Wo/Manhouse 2022 Could Use Some More Diversity"  Review by  Annie Bielski, Hyperallergic, July 24, 2022

 

"Art Heals at Secret Gallery"  the Magazine, May 2022

 

"The Place Where Your Heart Is" Public Art Celebrates community in Albuquerque's International District,  South Westness Society & Culture Website Article 2021

 

"Bodies//Boundaries" Southwest Contemporary Magazine, Spring Issue Feature 2021

 

"Belly up" Harwood exhibition an ode to tummies of all shapes and sizes the Albuquerque Journal 2020 

"Helen Atkins: Painter, ceramicist, arts educator and activist"  High School Daze Podcast 2020

"For the Record"  Albuquerque Artist During COVID-19 Documentarian  Malinda Frame 2020

 

"Reset"  Video statement with Helen Atkins, the birds+ Richard  2020

 

"Art at a Distance"  Stories with Helen Atkins, the Harwood Art Center 2020 

 

"Out of the Box" Murals in response to "Mundos de Mestizaje" the Albuquerque Journal 2020 

 

"Exploring Identity Through Art" Bi-racial Unicorns Podcast 2019

 

"Changing the Narrative" Artists unite to create ‘Plates Against Patriarchy’ the Albuquerque Journal 2019

 

"Through the Fire" Ceramics show draws parallels between women and clay the Albuquerque Alibi 2019

 

"Forgotten Faces"  Artist’s portraits ‘dismantle invisibility’ of homelessness The Albuquerque Journal 2019

 

"Rising Stars Shine" Emerging Artists of New Mexico The Albuquerque Journal 2018

 

"Women of Radiance" Edible Magazine Santa Fe Early Summer Edition Feature 2018

"Renewal & Community"  Exhibit aims to raise awareness of homelessness The Albuquerque Journal 2018

CONTACT

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