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Helen McEwen: Dune Riders

The Artist

Helen James Mcewen was born in Rockhampton QLD in 1920 and was largely influenced creatively by the 1950s. Abstract Expressionism, a form of painting that studied notions of spirituality and the sublime, dominated the 1950s. Many artists focused on the formal properties of painting, and action painting was influenced by the political freedom of the United States, as opposed to the strict limitations of the Soviet bloc. Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Frank Kline, Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still and Adolph Gottlieb were influential artists of this time. The male dominated environment has been subsequently revised to recognise the contributions of female artists such as Lee Krasner, Joan Mitchell, and Louise Bourgeois, amongst others.

Dune Riders by Helen McEwen

The Work of Art

Created in 1975, using pastels, this picture has a dream-like quality to it.  The use of  pastels  provides a free and loose form to the colour of the sand and the gin-blue skies. the power lines extending into the distance help to provide greater depth to the image and sets the distance between the viewer and the motorbike riders. One could almost hear the distant perhaps muffled sound of motorbike engines fading in and out between the sand dunes.