This Nettle Danger installation, by Patrice Aphrodite Helmar '15, image courtesy of the artist.

Patrice Aphrodite Helmar ’15 in Solo Exhibition ‘This Nettle, Danger’

BY Brittany Nguyen , January 19, 2021

Alumna Patrice Aphrodite Helmar ’15 is in solo exhibition This Nettle, Danger at the Gaa Gallery in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  


The exhibition presents black and white photographs in the form of a gallery turned portrait studio. It ruminates on the complex and paradoxical mythology of American identity.


Helmar’s portraits “create a personal and tactile connection between sitter and viewer. Catalyzed by poetic considerations of the human gaze and experience, the images in This Nettle, Danger draw from an ongoing series of photographs made on location in Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and the artist's native Juneau, Alaska. In examining the ethos of American culture, Helmar’s recent work is centered on how rural America is portrayed and asks essential questions about the nature of photography in a post-documentary age,” according to the Gaa Gallery. 


Helmar’s images are “born from a necessity and personal will. Growing up on a fishing boat in rural America and in her experiences as a public school teacher, nanny, and bartender, Helmar sees her own life and the experiences of her family in places like the rodeo, and the circumstances of young people being recruited to serve in the army. In the people she photographs, Helmar seeks to illuminate the resilience and strength of individuals and working-class communities.”


Helmar is a New York-based photographer and curator currently residing in Juneau, Alaska. Helmar has taught at Columbia University, Rutgers, and was a public school teacher in Alaska. Helmar is currently faculty at Fordham University and a Visiting Professor at the Pratt Institute. She is the curator of the Marble Hill Camera Club, and the Backyard Biennial. 


This Nettle, Danger is on view now through February 27, 2021 by appointment only