Helen Rockel is a painter living and working in Christchurch, New Zealand.
This website provides an insight into the focus of her work and her approach to expressing these ideas.
For further information about the artist see artist's statement.
"My desire to draw and paint goes back as far as I can remember. The pursuit of this interest resulted in my attending the Canterbury School of Fine Arts, where I graduated in 1971 with Honours in Painting. Since then, I have exhibited consistently in solo and group shows, and my work is held in private and public collections. My work has always been strongly figurative, with its focus often being the personal and universal experience of living. I worked with mythological material throughout the nineties, believing that these stories still resonate in today's experiences. More recently, I have found themes arising from passages that assume prominence for me while reading. I enjoy the challenge of working with ideas that evolve from this and value the skills that I am able to use in their interpretation."
"This basic requirement for survival in a remote tribe is an apt metaphor for an engagement in any life lived anywhere, where each of us works steadily with the weaving, shaping and mending of our lives. In the series “Weaving the Net”, I extended the metaphor further by using fish and other objects to represent the harvest of our endeavours. We harvest things unique to our own experience as well as working with age-old experience."
- Helen Rockel, 2005
"These paintings acknowledge the presence of previous generations in our lives. We “hear” their voices in a variety of ways. I have used the landscape as a metaphor for self and have invited preceding generations to step forward in a melding of past and present. Fragments of memory are unfurled in this landscape, while the dome of the past arches over us all. We are shaped by those who have gone before. Archetypal characters, such as the dancer, the dreamer and harlequin are an enigmatic presence co-existing with the familial."
- Helen Rockel, 2002
"This series of works was set in motion by my reading of the mundus or earth womb (abaton)which was an actual pit found in pre-Christian temples. It was a place of incubatory sleep where the sleeper could be visited by prophetic dreams. I intended doing a series specifically about this idea of mundus, but found myself moving into other territories where mundus became 'of this world'. The circular form in each painting becomes the mundus where thought takes shape and our response to experience is registered. It is a place of incubation."
- Helen Rockel, 2001
"This is a series about the Watcher, in various guises. Its focus is on states of alertness and awareness. Additional images have been used in the upper corners of the paintings which qualify and support the theme in a variety of ways. Some of the Sentinel series such as the Earthwatch paintings, are about an outwardly directed awareness, while others (Nightwatch, Self-keeper and Gate Keeper) are more about states of inner awareness. The Watcher calls our attention to whatever we need to see."
- Helen Rockel, 2000
"Throughout my time as a painter, my work has contained references, overtly or otherwise, to the changing circumstances of my life. Thus, my travelling experiences, the presence of my son, daughter and husband in my life, my place in my extended family, and my efforts to meet challenging times, have all had their place. During the nineties, I worked extensively with mythology. I looked at its metaphorical application to present-day life, recognising that the stories with which I worked had personal and universal relevance.
As well as the themes I have chosen to work with, I have also been asked to do commissions, such as several large paintings destined for Dubai. Others have been of a smaller, domestic nature."
- Helen Rockel, 2007
You are welcome to contact me if you wish to purchase a painting or are considering the possibility of commissioning a new work.
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