Helen Steele was born in a small town in the southern mountainous region of Germany. She spent her youth exploring nature with a sketchbook on hand. In High School, she participated in an exchange program in France, which opened her eyes to the wider world. Helen studied art education at the LMU University in Munich and received her master’s degree in 1986. She immigrated to America in 1987, first moving to LA before settling near San Francisco, where she raised her kids and started her art career.
Helen continues to push herself in her work, and her technique is continually evolving. She is trained in a broad spectrum of artistic techniques, which include printmaking, encaustic, ceramics, and fiber arts. Her work is an exploration into the human soul, a witnessing of the human spirit. Her approach is intuitive, suggestive rather than detailing.
Helen is the recipient of multiple awards and grants, including the Denis Diderot A-i-R art residency grant at Chateau d’Orquevaux in France, an art residency at Green Olive Arts in Tetouan, Morocco, and the Wendy Gruber Grant in Marin, CA. Also, her work has been published in American Art Collector Magazine and was featured on Marin Magazine’s front cover. She is represented by galleries across the United States and abroad. Her work can be found in many private collections.
My compositions are never preconceived, yet my themes are recurrent: The use of the figure as the means of investigating various psychological states: harmony, serenity, anxiety, isolation… As I work and rework my canvas, the image appears, sometimes only to elude me then to reassert itself much later. I work in multiple layers with buried images and words. Paint is wiped off, and layers are peeled, yielding the emerging image. Symbolic markings, personal imagery, shapes, and words appear, questions arise. Intimacy is translated through the sensuality of line, the simplest and subtlest of my tools. The line can be bold and assertive or sublime and quite sensual, converging dimensions, movement, and emotion. The connecting thread is the tension between what is active and passive, be it physical, emotional, or psychological.