In his critical analysis in The New Criterion (May 1990) noted art critic Jed Perl observed, "He introduces modern speed - something like the cinematic jump-cut - into the world of surrealist nostalgia. The artist takes the viewer on the visual equivalent of a roller coaster ride. Helander is a camp-it-up comedian, a shameless romantic and an intelligent abstractionist: this is an unusual combination."
For over twenty years, collage artist Bruce Helander has been constructing colorful and eccentric compositions in paper and cloth in an identifiable style that is completely unique.
Educated at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design, where he later became dean of the college, the artist was strongly influenced by the materials available to him in the historic New England community of Providence, Rhode Island. Helander found readily available printed fabrics and vintage papers to collect, providing an expanding palette for his studio activities.
Helander's work has been the subject of over 70 gallery and museum exhibitions in the United States and Europe. His collages frequently appear in The New Yorker magazine as well as numerous other publications.
"Love Letters" brings together all of the artist's many strengths and loves of the printed image into a unique design surrounded by images of fantasy, humor, childhood recollections, and referential images that relate to each individual letter. His colors make me happy. His wit makes me smile.
"Love Letters" reflects several things: first, Bruce's genuine love for letterforms; second, his love of constructing collages; and finally, his playful sense of humor with the multiple meanings of the words "Love Letters".
The first steps in developing each individual collage is Bruce's search, discovery and final placement of a letterform which fits successfully into the total sequential flavor of the series. Next, the artist centers the perfect retro (l920s, l930s and l940s) letter and surrounds it with collage nostalgia supporting the letter. When each composition is completed, the work is printed on Somerset white watercolor paper with protective UV coatings. After inspecting each work, the artist then collages every piece with various materials from his vast studio collection, including bits of retro printed pocket squares, silk souvenir scarves, and bolts of vintage fabric. Each print is different. Every print is unique.