Helen Rae is an artist who works at First Street Gallery Art Center, a program for adults with developmental disabilities in Claremont, California. First Street has encouraged the growth of some remarkable artists over the years, none more so than Helen, a 76-year-old, who has been a regular since the facility opened its doors in 1989.

Her work, in colored pencil and graphite, is immediately striking for its vivid imagery and resonant use of color. Her drawings exude a strange power and sense of menace. Fierce or frightened-looking women, with distorted figures, often seem to be hiding or escaping in furtive dream-like adventures, emerging out of or disappearing into ornate floral patterns, shrouded in luxuriant foliage, or on the verge of vanishing into abstraction. Using fashion advertisements as a point of departure for otherworldly journeys into the unconscious, Helen holds up a shattered mirror to the source material, breaking down the images into something uniquely expressive.

Helen’s drawings have been featured in numerous group shows both locally and as far afield as Scotland, Belgium and Japan. An intuitive stylist with a growing reputation, Helen's singularity is already gaining her wider recognition.

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