Viewing the paintings of Helen Smagorinsky, we readily comprehend the difference between Naive or Primitive Art - the productions of those lacking refined skills in creating illusion - and American Folk Art, which is a tradition set in opposition to illusionistic realism. Certainly both appeal in their honesty of expression and directness of meaning. Unlike Naive Art, though, Smagorinsky's art is the studied rendering of form into abstract notation: a reduction to the essence of things.
chiaroscuro, the modeling of forms in space, because this would imply
the unseen, a dimension to which the viewer is not privy. By rendering
everything perfectly in two dimensions, the artists conveys that there
is nothing unsaid or unknown. All meaning is apparent.
Helen Smagorinsky is a self-taught painter who has achieved national recognition with work included in several books and used in Ken Burns' series "Baseball" on PBS television. Her work is prized in many public and private collections, including the Smithsonian Institute, the New York Historical Association, the Library of Congress, and the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. Her paintings have been included in exhibitions at the Museum of American Folk Art and the White House.