Self-Expression With a Brush and Paint

Photo by Jess Cartwright

Self-expression. Some people find they can express themselves best through writing, others find it may be through their voice. For Penn State student Helen Maser its through a paintbrush.

Currently a senior, Maser is working towards obtaining her bachelor’s degree in both painting and sculpture.

On Tuesday January 24, a reception was held in Art Alley to celebrate the work of Helen Maser. A solid crowd showed to support the young artist and get a first-hand glimpse at some of her larger pieces hanging on the walls. Contrasting the white walls with vibrant colors, the large canvases were eye catching to anyone walking by. Perhaps Valley’s favorite characteristic of each painting was the immense detail in the faces of the subjects and the blurred features otherwise in the work.

From now until March 2, Maser’s latest collection entitled He Called Me Sexy Baby…But My Name is Helen is being featured in the HUB-Robeson Gallery’s Art Alley.

The work of Maser dives in to the themes and main ideas from the popular writings of Audre Lorde’s The Master’s Tool Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House (1984).

Audre Lorde is a black writer, feminist, lesbian and civil rights activist. Her work, particularly The Master’s Tool Will Never Dismantle The Master’s House, questions the ability for change in the world while examining problems through a racist, patriarchal lens. Moving deeper, she addresses the shape of the feminist movement— in 1979 when her work was written— and how she believed that only if feminists “learn how to take our differences and make them strengths” that then true equality will be reached.

Using this mindset, Maser uses her artwork as the medium for which she stands up against the patriarchy and other pressing topics. By incorporating self-portraiture, home scenes, and real life objects, she has a way of depicting trauma and violence and reworking it in to empowerment for people of any race or gender.

Next time you walk through the HUB, take a quick stroll through the gallery and see just how talented this young Penn Stater is!