Padre Gallery opened with the mission of bringing exciting emerging artists to NYC's Upper East Side. Baldur Helgason, who was featured in our latest issue, further explores emotive states the humorous adventures of a cartoonish alter ego in his solo show Tender showing through February 22, 2020.

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Expressing emotion has been primal in different forms of art through time, whether subtle, with evocative elements, visual metaphors and symbols or explicit, alternative techniques where intimate feelings are transformed into captivating visuals. The realm of cartoons and comics ideally articulate and accentuate such visuals. Unrestrained by rules of reality, cartoons have ability to exaggerate feelings making the most tragic moments seem hilarious, creating an emotional black hole of sorts.

Within this particular gap, Baldur Helgason operates in a space of deeply personal and suggestive imagery wrapped in quirky, often comical packaging. Starring the recurrent big-nosed, cigarette-addicted character in a striped shirt, each painting addresses the artist's emotions and approach to dealing with life’s lows and more infrequent highs. However melancholy, anxious or fearful, the artist seeks a ray of light.

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Tender represents Helgason's most personal body of work yet. Painted after the sudden loss of his dad, Helgason depicts his signature character blotting pain by obsessively smoking and painting. Referencing personal heroes such as Picasso and Magritte, Helgason confronts his emotions, showing the conflict between those inner sentiments and outside constraints. 

Photo and text credit by Sasha Bogojev