Helene Appel's paintings on linen — of everyday objects such as netting, blankets, stitches and floor sweepings — explore the tension between faithful representation and the transformative possibilities in the process of painting. While a depiction of a mound of rice or a chopped leek might be intricately detailed and uncannily illusionistic, a sheet of transparent plastic is convincingly communicated in a few decisive brushstrokes. The decorative lines of a tea towel or the coarse fabric of a blanket begin to blend, through a studied combination of both painterly media and gesture, with the weave of the raw linen below. "Helene Appel exchanges her attention and labor for the specific and individual characteristics that her painted objects reveal over the time that she exposes herself to them," writes Anna-Catharina Gebbers in the catalogue accompanying the artist's 2011 solo exhibition at the Mönchehaus Museum Goslar. "For every glance and brush stroke that she dedicates to her subject, she receives in exchange a further discovery of another of its particularities."
Appel (born 1976, Karlsruhe, Germany) attended the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg and received an MA from the Royal College of Art, London. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions including: Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany (2017); Waves, The Approach, London, UK (2017); Washing Up, P420, Bologna, Italy (2016); James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY (2014); The Approach, London, UK (2013); Kaiserringstipendium, Mönchehaus Goslar, Germany (2011); and Dorothea Schlueter Gallery, Hamburg, Germany (2011). Select group exhibitions include: Kettle’s Yard at The Hepworth Wakefield, cur. Anthea Hamilton, The Hepworth Wakefield, Wakefield, UK (2016); Queensize - Female Artists from the Olbricht Collection, Museum Arnhem, Arnhem, Netherlands (2016); I Prefer Life, The Weserburg, Bremen, Germany (2016); CORALE, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea Frigoriferi Milanesi, Milan, Italy (2016); Tutta l’Italia e silenziosa, cur. Davide Ferri, Reale Accademia di Spagna, Rome (2015); Salondergegenwart, Hamburg (2015); A Scene of Painting Today, cur. Marco Bazzini and Davide Ferri, Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato (2013); ÜBER DIE DINGE, Kulturstiftung Schloss Agathenburg, Agathenburg, Germany (2013); Lines of Thought, Parasol Unit, London, UK (2012); Augentäuschung, Kunsthalle Wilhelmshaven, Germany (2010); Beating The Bounds, Art Now, curated by Lizzie Carey-Thomas and Clarrie Wallis, Tate Britain, London (2009). Helene Appel lives and works in Berlin, Germany.