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SFA to open exhibition of rarely seen works by John Heliker

September 13, 2011 - Sylvia Bierschenk
"Self-Portrait" by John Heliker is one of the pieces included in "John Heliker: Drawing on the New Deal 1932-1948," which the Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Art will open at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.
NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS - The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Art will open "John Heliker: Drawing on the New Deal 1932-1948" with a 6 to 8 p.m. reception on Saturday, Sept. 24, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

The exhibition features a relatively unknown body of work by American artist John Heliker (1909-2000), who achieved early fame for his expressionistic work.

"The drawings, watercolors and sketchbooks included in the show demonstrate the shift Heliker made between 1932 and 1948 to powerfully expressive figure drawings, cubist-inspired landscapes and biomorphic abstractions in diverse media," said Dr. David A. Lewis, SFA associate professor of art history.

In 2009, Lewis was awarded the 2009 Heliker-LaHotan Summer residency.
He has completed extensive research on the artist and serves as the exhibition's curator.

Most of the pieces for the exhibition are on loan from the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation. Only a few of the works have been exhibited in the past 60 years.

On Thursday, Nov. 17, the SFA School of Art will present a panel discussion related to the exhibition. Serving on the panel will be art critic Jed Perl of New York City; Patricia Bailey, president of the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation; and art collector and artist Michael Ricker of Garland.

The exhibition will be on view in the Florence Wilson Reavley Gallery of The Cole Art Center, located at 329 E. Main St., through Saturday, Nov. 26. Regular gallery hours are 12:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.

"John Heliker: Drawing on the New Deal 1932-1948" is a part of the 2011-2012 University Series and is sponsored in part by the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation, Dorothy Carsey Sumner, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and SFA Friends of the Visual Arts.

For more information, please call (936) 468-1131.