Berlin-based artist Helene Appel creates images that straddle the threshold between realism, sculpture, and abstraction.
Appel paints ordinary materials from everyday life, working in a 1:1 scale.
Appel’s work highlights the sometimes-overlooked beauty of ordinary objects such as the bark of a tree, sand on a seashore, an envelope, the headlight of a car, and a loose fold of fabric.
Appel’s closely-observed paintings even explore the aesthetic qualities of discarded vegetable peelings ready to be thrown onto the compost pile, or a kitchen sink full to the brim of murky washing-up water.
The materials Appel uses, such as oil, watercolour or encaustic, start to resemble the object itself, giving her paintings a physical and three-dimensional presence.
This exhibition features key works from Appel’s career alongside a selection of new paintings. It is also an opportunity to see two works by Appel which were recently acquired for the Williamson’s collection: ‘Sand’ and ‘Dishwater’.
Commenting, Williamson curator Niall Hodson said, “It is really exciting for the Williamson to be showcasing Helene Appel’s fascinating paintings in this important exhibition.
“I believe this is the largest-ever display of Appel’s work in the UK. These paintings make you look again at the simple beauties and harmonies of the ordinary world we see every day.”
Helene Appel lives and works in Berlin, Germany.
Image: Helene Appel ‘Car Light’ 2023, oil on cotton, photographed by Carlo Favore