“Recent Works by Helen Cantrell” opens at the Nylen Gallery with a reception 5:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20. The show runs through Sept. 24.
I remember seeing Cantrell at the Southport Gallery — not the one that exists today in the village, but an earlier one on Harbor Road along the river. I was struck by how far her bold paint strokes took her, and how she didn’t stick to obvious subjects. She successfully captured the repetitive lines of the rooftops that cap some of Bridgeport’s grim, densely packed neighborhoods, and she did it with vague forms and brightly hued oils. Her economy of detail stuck with me.
Her lavish brushstrokes also captured the serenity of a marsh inlet, or the coldly aggressive interstate highway.
“Familiar sights take on a vibrant energy and she excels at capturing the quality of light in a scene, whether it be a bright clear midday or the waning luminosity of evening,” said Wendy Nylen, the gallery’s owner.
Originally from Chicago, Helen has lived on the East Coast for the last 40 years, working in New York, Boston, New Jersey and Connecticut. She has studied art at the Chicago Art Institute, Washington University in St Louis, the Art Student’s League and holds a degree in Studio Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
She now lives in Old Lyme, a picturesque town that she depicts in this show. This will be her fourth show at Picture This/Nylen Gallery.