Helene Smith-Romer

(b. 1948; resides Chicago, IL)

My current work … investigates the paradoxical beauty and mysticism of assemblages and the process of doing imagery. - Helene Smith-Romer

Helene Smith-Romer’s color photographs of paper assemblages emphasize the body, both in the bits of images pieced together and in the larger shapes they form. The particularly expressive features of the human body; eyes, mouth, and hands; are represented again and again. Sometimes Smith-Romer’s photographs are densely composited with brand logos and bits of text that generate colorful figures against plain black backgrounds, while in other images the assemblage runs full frame and emphasizes rectilinear shapes set together in a loose grid. The decision to photograph the assemblage complicates our understanding of it. This additional step in the process further distances the images from their original context, and at the same time plays on the photograph’s ability to render the hard edges of so many torn scraps and yet still fuse them onto a single, seamless piece of paper.

Smith-Romer has studied at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and holds a BA from Columbia College Chicago (1984) and an MFA from The University of Illinois, Chicago (1990). She is the recipient of an Illinois Art Council Grant and three Community Arts Assistance Program grants. Her work is in the collections of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York; and Chicago Historical Society. It has also been published in the books Smith-Romer ReturnsHelene’s Trip to Mars, and Helene Smith’s Scrapbook. Solo exhibitions of her work include The Space Traveler Triumphantly Returns at Paper Boy Gallery, Confessions of a Dadaist at Prince George College/Marlborough Gallery, andConfessions of a Dadaist Part 2 at Northern Illinois University Art Museum.