Sky Traveler

HELENE STEENE (1949-)

Sky Traveler, 2000
Metal, wood, oil based etching inks

American artist Helene Steene (born in Sweden) works intuitively as she creates her harmonious abstract pieces. Her classic training of how to use lines, colors, textures and composition enables her to improvise and create beautiful, contemplative and peaceful works. A visit to an exhibition of three abstract Japanese artists, Okada, Shinoda and Tsutada, held at the Phillips Collection in 1979 became a turning point in her life. The work she observed led her on a life-long journey of self-discovery toward finding “Freedom and Serenity”. In Japanese aesthetics this is called “fun!” (non-dual entirety). In her work she strives to achieve an inner harmony where others can dialog with themselves. The process of producing her pieces incorporates actual tools such as the aluminum plates used in producing monotypes. The plates are built up with thin layers of oil-based etching inks. Instead of cleaning the plates after every pull, she purposefully leaves one thin layer on top of the other. The result of the translucent colors on the aluminum surface creates a totally different feeling than on paper. Subtle washes are then applied to the plate on top of the mono print colors and then the plates are mounted on stained luan wood. Square roofing nails are then added for visual balance and to conceal registration holes of the plates. Four layers of polyurethane are coated on top to protect the surface.