Helaine Becker

September 27 to October 16, 2022

Location: Emergence Gallery

Presented by: Helaine Becker

In quantum physics, the Heisenberg Effect describes how a researcher’s own observations literally change the thing observed – i.e., reality. I believe an artist’s observations go one step further. They can change reality, but also create new realities.

My current visual art process is entirely digital, i.e., I paint on a computer. Nevertheless, my pieces are hand-painted. I use a stylus as my brush, and pixels as my paint. To begin, I might snap a reference photo of a particular moment of time-space. I interpret it using painting software (Corel Painter or Procreate) that lets me determine the brush strokes’ position and character, its colour and flavour. I then alter those brush strokes, much the way I use Word to amend text, adding and combining multiple layers to create depth and ambiguity.

On the macro scale, digital painting fits somewhere between art photography and classical painting techniques – the synthesis of O’Keeffe and Stieglitz, if you will. On the micro, my own digital artwork also exists in a liminal in-between space, shifting back and forth between abstract and representational, concrete/physical (the Print) and metaphysical (the Pixel).

Artist Biography

When Helaine Becker isn’t painting digitally or making stopmo animation films, she’s the well-known author of more than 90 books for children and young adults, including the international bestseller Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13; and the #1 National Bestseller and “enduring Canadian Christmas classic,” A Porcupine in a Pine Tree. Recent titles include The Fossil Whisperer: How Wendy Sloboda Discovered a Dinosaur; Pirate Queen: A Story of Zheng Yi Sao; Emmy Noether: The Most Important Mathematician You Never Heard Of ; and Alice and Gert: An Ant and Grasshopper Story. Her books have been recipients of Picture Book of the Year Award, The Cook Prize, the Giverny Prize, Bank Street Best of the Year, et al.

Helaine’s work been exhibited by the Society of Canadian Artists, The Square Foot Show, and the Aird Gallery among others. It will be on display at the Yonge-Eglinton Centre’s art showcase throughout the calendar year 2022. Limited-edition digital prints and NFTs are available directly from the artist.