Artist Talk: Friday, October 2 @ 5:30pm

Opening Reception: Friday, October 2, 6 – 8pm

Exhibition Runs: October 2 – 29, 2020

Soft is a sculptural series that exalts an often depreciated part of the human body. The project began as an act of self-reconciliation; as a way to make amends with a part of me that I have been bad to. I have hated my belly. The urge to take scissors and cut it off is a sick fantasy I have held since adolescence. Instead, I decided to cut my stomach in clay, sculpting the undulating rolls I have wished flat. Soft presents clay sculptures of stomachs, mused from photos I have gathered on social media. The pieces challenge societal notions of beauty while referencing classic sculpture in a contemporary context. Each piece represents a person and their relationship with their body- a relationship that is often undermined by the capitalistic and skinny-supremacist world we live in.

About Helen Atkins

My creative drive is motivated by a desire to explore identity, both introspectively and communally. I am attracted to the presence of contradiction in identity. As a biracial woman, I find myself reflecting on the conflicting elements in my sense of self, struggling to find balance and harmony. Thus, my artwork aims to compose opposing forces harmoniously. I juxtapose notions of femininity and strength, divinity and normalcy, beauty and the mundane- to not only reconcile my own contradictions, but to question societal notions of race, gender, and beauty.

Art making has been a source of reflection and reconciliation in my own experience, and I approach my creative practice with this truth. In both solo and collaborative endeavors, I am continuously looking to elevate the voices of the unheard alongside my own.

Helen Juliet Atkins is an interdisciplinary artist from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Atkins is a 2018 recipient of the Women in Creativity “Shine” Awards, honoring creative women and their work in their community. She was the inaugural Mentoring Artist in Residence for ArtStreet a Program of Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless from 2017-18. She is a co-founder of Plates Against Patriarchy, a community engagement visual arts and storytelling project that challenges patriarchal systems of power. Atkins currently serves on the Albuquerque Museum Board of Trustees.

Atkins works as an artist, teaching artist, curator, and arts organizer with diverse communities, focusing on the intersection of art and social justice. . While working on collaborative projects, she is also building a body of solo work that explores notions of experience and identity, which she has shown in galleries nationally and internationally.