By Raymundo Muñoz

"Crow Talk" by Janine Thornton

To an artist, the studio is like a second home–and to many it’s their primary one as well.  Big or small, organized or cluttered, whatever that sacred space entails it provides the artist with something essential to create: head-space.  In as much as the studio is simply a place to work and store one’s supplies, it’s more importantly a retreat from distraction, enabling the artist to burrow deep within himself/herself and (hopefully) return with hidden treasure.  As well, space is essential to understanding and appreciating art because the eyes need space, too.  In their second annual tenant group show “Denizens II,” Helikon Gallery makes it clear they understand this.

The dwellers of this art den comprise an eclectic mix of painters, mixed media artists, fabric artists, photographers, and jewelry makers that together give the eyes plenty to consume.  Consider the organic decay evoked in Naomi Scheck‘s highly detailed “Atrophia” paper piece or the tranquil “Aura Series” photographs on acrylic of Malia Shields.  Andre Fast‘s “self-portrait” “Lawnmower Face” bursts off the canvas like a violent sunset, while Justin Ankenbauer‘s “Float” coos in subtle and spontaneous gestures.  Additionally, the show features the emotional and psychological works of Emily J. Moore, the painterly fabric pieces of Janine Thornton, the fine digital portraiture of Cayce Goldberg, and the worthy works of Roxanne Rossi, Emily Wilcox, Keith Goble, Robin Huffman, Courtney Speer, Travis Jeffreys, Donna Jordan, and John Van Horn.

"Atrophia" by Naomi Scheck

"Aura Series 1" and "Aura Series 4" by Malia Shields

"Lawnmower Face" by Andrea Fast

"The Ambivalent Tongue's Negligence" by Emily J. Moore

Works by John Van Horn

Works by Robyn Huffman

In concert, ample amounts of wall space around the individual art pieces gives the mind space to digest–that is, to consider and connect with each piece.  It’s a respectful practice to both artist and viewer, and it’s one that sometimes gets neglected in big group shows.  As such, the viewer gets the sense that Helikon and its inhabitant creators aren’t so much trying to overwhelm the sense as they are trying to respect them. “Denizens II” is on display at Helikon Gallery Aug.1 – Aug.29.