New! Helena Wurzel's Appleton Street
Helena Wurzel is a 20x200 favorite, and it’s not difficult to see why. A few weeks ago, with the release of Lena Dunham Upside Down, I shared with you the reasons why I am not Helena Wurzel, despite the fact that every time I look at one of her pieces my brain feels like yelling “IT ME!”
But Appleton Street, her 10th featured work on this here website, differs from her other work. There are no women here—no women lying in bed, taking a selfie, lying under a magazine—and yet, the warmth of human emotion permeates throughout. Is it the warmth that comes from seeing the careful strokes of a color pencil (the way you taught yourself you should color when you were ten, or maybe before if you were really good at it)?
There is emotion in the awkward perspective. There is the bookcase, the french door, the moon outside, the way that you would see it if you were just lying on the couch, snuggling with your black kitten, letting all your thoughts drift away. There is the rug, and the portrait, as seen from above so that you may enjoy their beauty. There is a sturdy leather chair, classic in its design—a first grown-up purchase perhaps—a handsome and comfy corner to read a book in, a reminder that life is good even if things don’t always seem to go to plan.
I look at Appleton Street and wonder, where is Helena? Are the sunglasses on the table and the bag next to the chair signs that she is present? Is this her home? Or is Appleton Street a memory of her first apartment, or a combination of multiple apartments? Or the realization of her ideal living room space? I think Appleton Street is real because Helena's work always feels real, even when it’s not, and when it’s not, well...I guess I’d rather not know.
My own Appleton Street would be called “Pine Street” and it would be a drawing of my first studio apartment in Philadelphia. It would not be this colorful. The whole thing was covered in an ugly carpet that was a perfect shade of dust and sun damage. There were no French doors, although there were magnificent sliding doors that opened to a closet, with a view of a tiny kitchen where the counter was not big enough for a microwave. There was a couch, but I don’t remember where it came from or what happened to it afterward. There was no art. There was no grownup chair. And still Appleton Street reminds me of my tiny garbage apartment, the first one I ever truly called my own.
With art for everyone,