Equine Enthusiasm

lisa cueman photographing horseLisa Cueman shooting her favorite subject.

Two Artists Collaborate for an Ambitious Exhibition at Helmholz Fine Art

By Marisa Crumb

Maybe “enthusiasm” isn’t quite strong enough. Perhaps passion, zeal, or ardor would be more apropos when describing the work photographer Lisa Cueman and sculptor Rita Dee engage in. They will join forces this summer in the form of an exhibition at Helmholz Fine Art, a gallery in downtown Manchester. Their show, The Spirited Horse, is a reflection and a manifestation of the energy and passion both women pour into their art forms.

Gallery owner Lisa Helmholz elaborates and describes how she is giving Cueman, a Dorset resident, and Dee, who lives and works out of her studio in Bennington, “total freedom.” The gallery space will be transformed to re-create the Rachel Carson Reserve, located on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and will incorporate sand, grasses, and driftwood. A gallery owner for 24 years with an amazing eye for design and aesthetic impact, Helmholz adds, “I’ve never done anything like this before!”

Fine art photographer Lisa Cueman uses a chromogenic process, which results in the highest resolution in the world, to achieve a stellar portrayal of the wild horses that roam on an island on the Rachel Carson Reserve off the Outer Banks. Through her lens she sweeps viewers off their feet with her ability to freeze in time the graceful form, lines, and contour of the wild horses that have captivated her for as long as she can remember. “I have spent my entire life with horses in some form or another,” Cueman shares. “They are a part of who I am, and photography, something I discovered in my early teenage years, is merely an extension of this passion. Photography showcases a feeling, a way of touching and loving. What you capture is forever held still allowing it to hold on to the little things long after one has forgotten them. That is the magic of a photograph and is at the very root of why I pick up my camera. I want to hold on to a moment of something that I deeply love.”

Of the exhibition, Cueman says, “It is always very exciting to have your work exhibited and that is heightened even more in sharing the gallery with Rita’s talent. Seeing our work together provides a very unique and complementary viewing experience. The fact that Lisa Helmholz is pairing our work together again speaks to the impact and success of our collaborative efforts of last year.”

rita dee with her horse sculptureRita Dee with one of her life-size driftwood horses.

Similarly, sculptor Rita Dee goes to great lengths, literally, to source the materials for her art. In an effort to find just the right river driftwood to depict and replicate the anatomy of a horse, Dee scales cliffs and personally collects the stray driftwood left along riverbanks after storms. The waters of the Hudson River supply the washed-up wood that Dee skillfully shapes into life-size sculptures. She looks for what she refers to as “a flow” in the wood that can then translate into a flow in her sculptures; a somewhat abstract form results but one that clearly and definitively characterizes the movement and flow of the creature. Dee expresses her process as such: “How wonderful it is to be surprised by beauty! That is how I feel every time I pick up a piece of wood and visualize how it fits into the magnificent form of a horse.”

The Spirited Horse exhibit will launch with an opening reception on July 22 from 5–7:30pm and will run from Jul. 22–Aug. 5. 442 Depot St., Manchester. 802-855-1678 or www.helmholzfineart.com