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. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions including: Kaiserringstipendium, Mönchehaus Museum Goslar, Germany (2011); Chopping Board, The Approach, London, UK (2010); Der Vorschuss, Luis Campaña, Berlin, Germany (2009). Recent group exhibitions include: A Scene of Painting Today, curated by Marco Bazzini and Davide Ferri, Centro perl’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy (2013); ÜBER DIE DINGE, Kulturstiftung Schloss Agathenburg, Agathenburg, Germany (2013); Object Fictions, James Cohan Gallery, New York, NY (2012); Lines of Thought, Parasol Unit, London, UK (2012); FORCEMEAT, Wallspace, New York, NY (2011); The Library of Babel, curated by Anna-Catharina Gebbers, 176 Project Space, London, UK (2010); 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.