Artist Statement: Much of Human Communication is nonverbal. Plants obviously cannot speak, yet they can be as emotive as a silent figure. Emphasizing the expressivenes of botanical and human structure rather than conventional beauty is what drives my work. I attend numerous drawing sesions with live models. Working with a living breathing human being rather than a photograph is esential to capturing pure emotion. My botanical pieces are taken from real still-life arrangements. I often record the life cycle of a bundle of flowers from vibrant life, through to the delicateness of the dry final state.
Process: I use wet and dry mediums both additively and subtractively in order to create weathered atmosphere. Once I have captured the essence of the subject I continue working the piece independently of the model using a variety of unconventional techniques. Layers of ink followed by layers of gouache are often rubbed away using a scrubber brush to generate texture. In other cases I will spray my drawings with a vigorous jet of water from the garden hose to create liquid effects. About: A life time interest in art led Helen to study at the University of Michigan's School of Art & Design where she divided her time between printmaking and scientfic illustration. This led her to develop a process oriented drawing style characterized by extreme detail. Gotlib traveled extensively. Her observations of people and customs of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East influence her perception of the human body and its complex range of expression. This interest manifests itself primarily in the vast body of figurative drawing, painting and print making work she has produced over the course of the last decade. Most recently, Gotlib is immersed in an extensive exploration of a deceptively nuanced and emotional subject - flowers. By following the life cycle of flora, but focusing particularly on dried, dead, flowers, she has managed to creat images of unexpected beauty and power mirroring the complexities of her figurative work.