Bonita Helmer explores scientific theories of physics, astronomy, the inner and outer realms of existence, and the unseen elements of our universe in her paintings. Mystical and philosophical theories are interwoven with ancient symbols as she represents aspects of space and particle physics such as the crystal lattice, nutrino, gravitino, sparticles and star nurseries. Helmer is attracted to naturally occurring and theoretical forms and structures that lend themselves to gestural abstract painting. In actuality, paints real things and places that are in themselves abstract and sometimes even invisible. She uses physics along with images from space as inspiration for investigation into the theory of the ever–expanding universe. While we understand the concept that sub-atomic particles exist, they cannot be seen with the naked eye. A researcher at Jet Propulsion Lab has called her, an “intuitive physicist”.
Helmer began her investigation of this work prior to 2000; she is authentically involved in the importance of physics, subatomic research, black holes, the birth of stars, supernovas, Einstein’s “God Theory”, gravity, energy, heavy elements and collapsing gas and dust to name a few. Visually, the painting techniques she uses include a variety of contemporary mixed media. She doesn’t forfeit the artistic experience of hands on work, in favor of technology, but rather enhances the visual experience with expanded experimentation using paint as her primary medium. The California space and light movement and the 1980’s neo expressionists influence Helmer’s work while at the same time she honors art historical influences such as Delacroix, Magritte, Turner, and Caravaggio. She uses this blended methodology to fabricate a way of intertwining new ideas and old world painting aesthetics through the use of color theory, light and composition.
Helmer creates metaphors for the conditions of our world. In the quiet of the universe, a Super Nova suddenly explodes into chaotic fragments of various materials flying light years into space. There is a peaceful, beautiful energy in the universe as well as an awe-inspiring unpredictability. There is so much anguish caused by war, poverty, famine, human fragility and endless conflict in the world, it is Helmer’s desire to paint an unknown, untouched landscape that is still without the influence of human destruction. Using science and how it is interconnected to art as a politically important theme, Helmer is interested in the future of the human race and she desires to express a visual representation of a landscape that is still relatively free from human strife.