Helen Rae is an artist who works from First Street Gallery, a program for adults with developmental disabilities in Claremont, California. First Street has encouraged the growth of some remarkable artists over the years, none more so than Helen, a 76-year-old, who has been a regular since the facility opened its doors in 1989.
Her work, in colored pencil and graphite, is immediately striking for its vivid imagery and resonant use of color. Her drawings exude a strange power and sense of menace. Fierce or frightened-looking women, with distorted figures, often seem to be hiding or escaping in furtive dream-like adventures, emerging out of or disappearing into ornate floral patterns, shrouded in luxuriant foliage, or on the verge of vanishing into abstraction. Using fashion advertisements as a point of departure for otherworldly journeys into the unconscious, Helen holds up a shattered mirror to the source material, breaking down the images into something uniquely expressive.
Helen’s drawings have been featured in numerous group shows both locally and as far afield as Scotland, Belgium and Japan.
Helen Rae, CV HIghlights
2016 Outside, Karma, Amagansett, New York
2016 Nothing Compares To You Riverview School, East Sandwich, MA Figurative works from the collection of Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg
2016 Helen Rae solo exhibition The Good Luck Gallery Los Angeles, CA
2016 Outsider Art Fair New York, NY
2015 Helen Rae solo exhibition The Good Luck Gallery Los Angeles, CA
2014 Full Circle: 25 Years of First Street Gallery & CGU group exhibition, East and Peggy Phelps Galleries, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, CA
2012 About Face group exhibition Acme, Los Angeles, CA
Martin and Rebecca Eisenberg
Brut Force: Brut Force’s 6 for 16: Top Stories of Self-Taught and Outsider Art 2016
Artnet News: Outsider Art Fair Returns to Paris Focusing on the Spiritual
KCET: First Street Gallery Helps Artists with Disabilities Find Their Voice
VOGUE: Art How a 77-Year-Old Disabled Artist Finally Got Her Moment
Artillery Magazine: Strike the Pose: Getting high inside high fashion from way outside – the art of Helen Rae
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Review An alien beauty to Helen Rae’s female subjects at the Good Luck Gallery
CLAREMONT COURIER: Age Has No Boundaries for Artists Striking Work
DISPARATE MINDS: Masters and Emerging Artists at the Outsider Art Fair
Vice: Intricate Colored Pencil Works Explode with Texture
GALLERY MAGAZINE: Exhibition Review: “Helen Rae”
DISPARATE MINDS: Helen Rae: Recent Drawings
DISPARATE MINDS: Helen Rae at The Good Luck Gallery