Hilde L.A.

Walking into the unassuming bi-level gallery on Washington Boulevard, I could not escape the feeling that I was entering a space with no ceiling.  Once I started talking to Hilde Lynn Helphenstein, the director, owner, and curator of the Hilde L.A. gallery, I quickly realized why. The gallery is not confined by its space. 

DEC17hilde2Located at 4727 W. Washington Blvd. in Mid-City
(just east of Rimpau), the gallery has sponsored shows in cities around the nation and abroad. Helphenstein, a force of nature has lived and worked across the globe, but decided to open her gallery here in 2016. 

“We searched all over Los Angeles for the right place to call home. There are already so many other art scenes in Culver City, Hollywood, and the Eastside. We wanted to be in a place where we could add something and have space to experiment. The day we found the building we fell in love and decided it had to be here!”

Her vision knows no bounds or borders in a scene hyper-focused on bringing people into physical spaces. SO rather than focusing on bringing people to see the work, she has taken the work to everyone else. That does not, however, mean I am ever going to miss a show at the Mid -City location again. 

The current show, titled
Virago, features nearly all women and reflects on the meaning of the word itself.  Once used as a noun to disparage women, the show reimagines the idea of what it means to be a "virago" (the traditional definition of which is "a domineering, violent, or bad-tempered woman") and subverts it into an exploration of gender, power, and sexuality. Taking this term, the nine artists in the show repurpose it and refuse it, rejecting the notion of a world in which men dictate any sense of definition for a women's identity. In a social and political climate when women are constantly battling for their rights, this show is timely and necessary.  

With the exhibition running through the latter part of December, the works are a must-see. Nicole Reber’s work, graphic white text on a black background, looks like a sign from a diner somewhere off Route 66. However, once you step back to read the words emblazoned across the black panel a deeper meaning is revealed. "I don’t call it going out I call it working on my novel" she states in one phrase on the work, entitled "Famous Last Words." She is an artist changing the way one thinks about what a sign is, should be and can be, highlighting the complex relationship between text and art. 

The paintings of Shelley Holcomb, the artist and radio show host of "Whits n Giggles" depict infants, aptly chosen by Helphenstein to represent the first image of a person. In contrast to these, Jake Kean Mayman, displays "Joan Quigley (Zero Years)", a highly colorful oil painting of the astrologer to Ronald Regan. She is the oldest representation of a person in the show, bringing the exhibition full circle.

What do you like about this area?

There's no other place in LA we'd want to be. There's so many interesting, creative, and talented people in Mid-City and West Adams. We've also felt so much community and support from our neighbors and local businesses. It's also geographically ideal for LA. We are 15 minutes from everything! I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. 

Can you get buyers to come down and look?

We have the audience most galleries in 2017 have. Our online presence is strong through Instagram (@hildegallery, and our website (www.hilde.co) gives us an audience not constrained by geography. People join us from across town to across the world to see our exhibitions. Thankfully, when people are interested in what you do, they'll tolerate the LA traffic! 

What is your view of the current state of the Los Angeles art scene? 

As our relationship to technology continues to accelerate, it will be less and less important to be in New York and the art scene will continue to grow. The quality of life is so high here, i.e. nature, sunlight, healthy food, great community, amazing culture. All of my friends who don't already live here wish they were here! 

WEBSITE - Hilde.co



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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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