Wellesley - The Dana Art Gallery is proud to present an exhibit of Helen West Heller Woodcuts, from January 13 through February 7, 2003. Curated by G. A. Scattergood, Dana Hall School art instructor and gallery director, who has been an admirer of Heller's woodcuts since the mid-1970s, this is likely the most significant exhibition of Heller's work since her death in 1955. The prints on display are drawn from three commercial galleries and two private collections. Over fifty woodcuts (executed from 1924 to 1953) plus illustrated books, a painting and copper relief by Helen West Heller will be on display.

Gifted in nearly all of the pictorial arts - fresco, oil and watercolor painting, mosaic, lithography Heller's greatest artistic achievement lies in the woodcut and wood engraving. Heller cut her first real woodcut in 1923 while living in Chicago. Her first attempts were not well received. The public felt her work was too abstract and the woodcuts unrealistic. Undaunted Heller felt this was simply the nature of her art.

Heller once said of her work, "I begin thinking in terms of the wood; only this way can original creation take place. I am a forerunner in the development of composition into a phase of psychology, by discovering ways of conveying emotions through abstractions. My product is completely creative; entirely divorced from the motive of conveying authors' images."

In the 1930's, while living in New York City, Heller produced her most beautiful woodcuts. Her exhibits at the Brooklyn Museum and Columbia University won her widespread recognition. Institutions such as the Library of Congress and the New York Public Library, as well as many museums acquired her prints. She produced over six hundred woodcuts in the last two and a half decades of her life.

According to Dr. Ernst Harms, who knew the artist during the last decade of her life and wrote an appreciation of her work in Print Collector's Quarterly, April, 1942, and on her life in American Artist, November, 1957 "Helen West Heller has lived the life of a full blooded personality striving and fighting for an artistic ideal . . . Far too little is known even among artists about this amazing woman."

There will be an opening reception for the exhibition on Tuesday, January 14 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

The Art Gallery provides a program of exhibitions by local and visiting artists throughout the academic year for Dana Hall School and the Wellesley community. The Gallery is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday & Friday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed during weekends and school holidays. Admission is free.