Thomas Helbig

Selected works by Thomas Helbig

Thomas Helbig
Braune Welle

2001

oil on wood

185 x 250 cm
Thomas Helbig’s precisely composed, semi-abstract paintings provoke a feeling of confusion and fascination in the viewer. The soft, muted geometric shapes and colours that stretch and blur over the surface of his wooden panels look slightly adrift, as if in the process of emerging from a backdrop of uncertainty, rife with possibility.
Thomas Helbig
Maschine

2005

Oil on canvas

250 x 185 cm
Helbig has said that his paintings ‘are about reduction to an unrecognisable state from which something new can then evolve. Concealing in order to reveal something, encrypting in order to make something visible.’ His ethereal brushwork, gauzy tones and subdued palette oscillate between hiding and unveiling familiar forms. Some of his paintings are rooted in teach-yourself art manuals, yet instead of focusing on precise copying he leaves the works unfinished, in a state of engagement with abstraction and a sort of larger-than-life open-endedness.
Thomas Helbig
Rom

2005

oil on wood

155 x 125

The real tension in Helbig’s paintings is that nothing is simply what it first appears to be. Though anchored around portraits, landscapes or art historical subjects, his compositions suggest an eerie, remote intangibility. Wilde Mit Spiegel (2004) echoes a traditional mirror-facing vanitas, but here it has been fleshed out through an abject model whose monstrosity seems to be disintegrating and shifting before our very eyes.

Thomas Helbig
Seele

2005

oil on wood

195.5 x 150 cm

Maschine (2005) also deliberately plays with half-articulated meaning, as if delighting in teasing us with the idea of transition and pareidolia – the recognition of accidental anthropomorphic shapes in abstraction. Helbig’s subversion of the viewer’s expectations extends to his handmade frames, which are intentionally imperfect and
lead us to contemplate further the undefined and uncertain nature of what it is we are looking at.

Thomas Helbig
Wilde Mit Spiegel

2004

oil on wood

200 x 160 cm
Thomas Helbig
Jungfrau

2005

diverse materials

85 x 85 x 90 cm
Thomas Helbig
Vater

2005

Mixed media

85 x 85 cm

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