I’ll send you a postcard of a painting

What is the point of a super realistic painting?

It gives you the same picture a camera would, but takes a ridiculous amount of time, effort and money to complete.

Well, that’s kind of what I thought when I went to see the artist Helena Hugo‘s solo exhibition at the only art gallery in Bloemfontein, Oliewenhuis.

When you walk into the spacious room your eyes are met by those of hard workers. The usually faceless people who do countless things we couldn’t live without have their eyes firmly set on you. These faces have not been captured in a snap shot, but have rather been put together like a galaxy that’s coloured in one star at a time. Helena Hugo has taken these faces and made them so much more than reality could. When you get closer to the surface of the painting (the exhibition is aptly entitled ‘Surface’) they become a compilation of tiny lines and layer upon layer of colours, but from far away the eyes stare at you and ask for recognition.

I bought a pack of postcards with some of the paintings on them at the exhibition. If you’d like, I could send you one. Just leave your postal address in the comments section and I’ll send you one (with love) as soon as I have a stamp.

Helena Hugo's Newspaper man

Helena Hugo: Moving the Trucks out at Dawn II, Pastel on Newspaper, 170cm x 120cm

Helena Hugo's Gold Smith

Helena Hugo: “Gold Smith: The Workbench”, oil on board, 110 cm X 90 cm

Very heavy metal!

Helena Hugo: Metal Worker, Pastel on Board, 54cm x 82cm

Helena Hugo 's Cane Cutter, beautiful clouds yo

Helena Hugo’s Cane cutter V, Pastel on Board, 60cm x 60cm

Helena Hugo's Gardener or tuinier

Helena Hugo: Gardener III Pastel on Board, 64cm x 71cm

I don't know what this one is called

I’m not sure what this one is called. Click on it to go to the site I found it on 🙂

Helena Hugo knows how to make the viewer stop and stare and feel uncomfortable for doing so.

Helena Hugo: The forgiving man, Pastel and enamel on board, 60cm x 60cm

Here is what the Facebook invite for the exhibition had to say:

Lobster quote quotation marksAcclaimed for photorealistic portrait interpretations, Helena Hugo has an exceptional technique, combining pastel with high gloss enamel. She also creates monochrome oil paintings that resemble charcoal drawings, which form a contrast with the colourful surfaces of her pastel drawings.

The artist’s inspiration arises from her interest in physiognomy, an assessment of a person’s character or personality from his outer appearance, especially the facial area. She explores the preconceived ideas the viewer might experience when studying a portrait of an unfamiliar person. Unavoidable opinions and judgements might be made about the subject’s appearance, gender or race. She has always been fascinated by the idea that her photorealistic painting technique looks beyond the surface of a face to achieve a deeper understanding of the character of the subject. Her aim is to reveal the character of a person and not only a rendering of the surface of the face.

Through this exhibition, Helena Hugo travels as much on a journey of self examination as on a journey to examine the attitude of the society in which she finds herself. She invites us as viewers to join her on this quest and to explore with her our prejudices and our assumptions about appearances which may still influence our opinions of people today. ”

This is one tough lady

Helena Hugo: The tough cookie, pastel and enamel on board, 80cm x 80cm
Helena Hugo

Helena Hugo makes faces as complex as galaxies

Helena Hugo’s The good provider, pastel and enamel on board, (60cm x 60cm)
Helena Hugo


6 thoughts on “I’ll send you a postcard of a painting

  1. WOW! dis amazing! Daar is hierdie Amerikaanse kunstenaar wat ID fotos airbrush, maar hy doen dit op ‘n skaal van soos 2m by ek weet nie wat nie, maar dis massief en dis so amazing!

    Oe my adres:
    205 Panorama Mansions
    St James Road

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