After 40 years, Bayside artist scores Manhattan exhibit

Bayside artist Helaine Soller displays two pieces from her "Paintings of Water Environments" exhibit, currently on display in Midtown Manhattan. Photo by Nathan Duke
By Nathan Duke

Bayside's Helaine Soller has created more than 500 paintings during the past four decades, but the artist has scored her first Manhattan exhibition that will run through mid-November and display seven of her expressionist pieces in the lobby gallery of a Midtown real estate broker.

Soller, who lives off Bell Boulevard in Bayside, said she hopes her “Paintings of Water Environments” exhibit, which features pieces selling for between $5,000 and $18,000, will open the door for her to show more of her work in Manhattan.

The exhibit opened in mid-July at Kato International's lobby gallery, 12 E. 49th St. and will run through Nov. 13.

“This is my first solo exhibit in a major space in the city,” said Soller, who has exhibited her work for several decades at the Queens Museum of Art, Queens College, the Bronx Museum and the Joseph Addabbo Federal Building in Jamaica, as well as sites in Philadelphia, Massachusetts and Chicago.

“I've been in commercial galleries and had more than 90 exhibits and 14 solo shows. I really want to sell my work because this show is a tremendous investment of time and resources,” she said.

Soller grew up in Flushing but has lived in Bayside for more than a decade. She received her master's degree in art education from Queens College in 1986 and has painted between 500 and 600 paintings.

Her previous work includes “Hide and Seek,” a series of charcoal drawings on acrylic paint; a series of paintings of families; and music and dance-themed works. She has also received grants sponsored by the Queens Council on the Arts and JP Morgan Chase Foundation.

Soller, who previously taught art in the city's public schools and worked as an art director at the American Institute of Physics, said she was inspired to create her “Water Environments” exhibit after visiting the rose and rock gardens at Yaddo Gardens in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The acrylic paintings capture that area's water lilies, koi fish, lotus plants and reflections in water as well as the region's Victorian fountains.

“These paintings create an awareness of the beauty of our natural environment,” she said. “Many of them are symbolic and have imagery that evokes memory and feelings.”

Soller said she painted the seven pieces specifically for the Manhattan exhibit during a period of three months.

The artist, who has been exhibiting her work in galleries since 1980, said she will likely continue to work on the series for several years. The exhibit can be viewed every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Reach reporter Nathan Duke by e-mail at nduke@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156.

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