Helnwein was deeply influenced by the Holocaust, as well as by popular cultural references like comics and rock music. His imagery is unsettling, dark, and deeply compelling, carrying powerful messages of political disturbance and social unease.
Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery
School of Art and Design San Jose State University San Jose, CA 95192-0089 SJSU Gallery Jo Farb Hernandez, Director
I Walk Alone
mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2003
Artweek Debra Koppman 01. March 2008
Gottfried Helnwein’s exhibition I Walk Alone is pretty unnerving, and that is his point. Large-scale photo-realistic paintings confront the viewer like a series of film stills forming a bizarre and disturbing sequence of nightmares. Using digital photography and computer-generated images combined with classical painting techniques, many of the images are only black and white, while others use one additional color, such as red, to dramatic and horrifying effect.
The images might be seen as bits of individual stories, or pieced together in a variety of frightful ways, or seen as a generalized narrative of brutality and terror, in which innocence is perhaps relative. We are all implicated in Helnwein’s unfolding dramas.