“The expression of emotions has been the ultimate goal in different forms of art through time. Sometimes subtle, through the use of evocative elements, visual metaphors, or symbols, sometimes explicit, the artists keep exploring ways to convey their most intimate feelings into captivating visuals. Yet, it seems that the world of cartoons and comics got the furthest in terms of articulating and emphasizing those. Not limited by the rules of reality, the exaggeration of emotions in cartoons can go as far as making the most tragic moments feel hilarious, creating an emotional black hole of sorts. It feels like this particular gap is the space in which Baldur Helgason operates, constructing deeply personal and revealing imagery wrapped in quirky, even humorous packaging. Starring the recurring big-nosed, cigarette-addicted character that wears a striped shirt, his paintings are speaking of the artist’s emotions and ways of dealing with life’s lows and sometimes, highs. Mostly depicting melancholy, sadness, anxiety, and fear, the works still feel amusing and cheerful on the outside. Quite literally, cause his characters and objects around them have an otherworldly polished porcelain-smooth surface that fully matches the ever-present, anxious grins on their faces. The body of work painted for his debut showcase with Padre gallery in NYC is the most personal body of work Helgason has created. Painted during the time the artist grieved the sudden loss of his dad, they are mostly depicting the main character escaping his pain through painting and obsessively smoking. By confronting his emotions against personal sources of inspiration such as Picasso, Magritte, Cubism, or Reinesance, Helgason shows the conflict between those inner sentiments and outside stimuli. Contrasting the forced big smile against big eyes bulging with tears he is capturing the struggle between keeping the face expected by our surroundings and dealing with our tender inner self.


– Sasha Bogojev”