Hamje applies her deep knowledge of oil painting tradition to shed new light on a forgotten icon. As cycles of regional population and industry growth begin to upswing again, Hamje's vivid representations remind us of the parallel geologic and biologic processes which have allowed new life to take hold and thrive in the blasted foothills of the mountain. Climbing with Helen epitomizes the balance between transience and stability which characterizes life in a region continuously reshaped by forces natural and man-made alike. Both her masterful understanding of the region's brooding, coastal light and her fleeting, fluid brushwork are clear results of close engagement with the Impressionist masters. However, the emergence of familiar terrain from brushstrokes which border on abstraction in their flatness and texture draws inevitable comparisons to the Post-Impressionist movement as well.

Climbing with Helen:

Connecting with the Forgotten Sister

1 - 30 September 2016

The Pacific Northwest has forgotten Mt. St. Helens. We embrace Mt. Rainier as our icon of stability and natural majesty, but just over the horizon, Rainier’s southern sister symbolizes another fundamental characteristic of life in Cascadia, which many of us would prefer to forget: the dynamism which has given shape to this striking landscape ceaselessly and, occasionally, destructively. Those who remember the 1980 explosion recall a sense of cataclysm that year which, as the nation struggled under the yoke of a global recession, became suddenly compounded by the most lethal and destructive volcanic event in US history.