Inspired Together

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Exhibit Info

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Inspired Together : The Artwork of William and Helene Plank


March 25 to June 1, 2024


Second Floor Reading Room

About the Artist

Artist Bio

Helene Plank’s Artist Bio

William and Helene Plank met while studying visual Arts in college. Helene earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising Design and later worked as a graphic designer in a freelance capacity. She eventually pursued a career in higher education, earning a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration. She retired in 2006 and continued to produce graphic art services for non-profit organizations. Helene’s art progressed from commercial advertising to jewelry design. Her current focus is the creation of mosaics. Mrs. Plank gives new life to discarded buttons and beads by combining them to form intricate mosaics on canvas. Her work is unique because she hand-sews all the buttons and beads rather than glues the materials onto the work surface.

Helene has received many awards for her mosaic art. She has exhibited at West Windsor Arts, Phillips’ Mill, Grounds for Sculpture/Sculpture Gardens and Museum and Mercer County Artists, to name a few. Mrs. Plank’s artwork is part of the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage Commission permanent art collection.

William Plank’s Artist Bio

William and Helene Plank met while studying visual Arts in college. William earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education. He has been involved in numerous freelance activities in the arts such as commercial design, theatrical set design and painting, puppetry, book illustration and mural art. After teaching Studio Art and Art History at Hightstown High School, William retired in 2007. Throughout his teaching career, William continued to produce and exhibit his acrylic paintings.

Mr. Plank has exhibited at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, West Windsor Arts, D & R Greenway Land Trust in Princeton, Phillips’ Mill, Mercer County Artists and Grounds for Sculpture/Sculpture Gardens and Museum. He has received numerous awards. Several of his works are included in the Mercer County Cultural and Heritage permanent art collection.

Artist Statement

Helene Plank’s Artist Statement

My art began from a love of buttons as a child to eventually choosing them as my medium for expression.

It began with the idea of entering a recycled art show at a local library. I created a mosaic comprised of discarded buttons and beads. Realizing that gluing the materials in place would not be durable over time and would also be very heavy, I decided to hand-sew them onto stretched canvas. This is an extremely time-consuming process but has proven to yield the best results.

I combine a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures to fit the subject and achieve a mood or feeling. Sewing the materials allows me to make adjustments as the work progresses.

My mosaics are influenced by artist Georges Seurat and his techniques of optical blending (Pointillism). Highlights and shadows are formed by using various tones and hues, so that the viewer’s eyes can blend them visually.

Through membership in the New Jersey State Button Society and the National Button Society, my knowledge of buttons has greatly increased.

Using recycled materials in my mixed media mosaics satisfies a concern for the environment by elevating discarded materials to a high art form and a re-experience of purpose.

William Plank’s Artist Statement

“The artist’s duty is to deepen the mystery.”     Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich, along with Andrew and James Wyeth have had a big influence on my acrylic painting. I admire these artists, not only for their realistic technique, but also for the feeling of mystery and introspection their art evokes.

The subject matter of my work ranges from realistic landscapes and portraits, to a variety of abstract concepts and themes. Whether it’s visualizing a piece of classical music on canvas or painting a landscape in a traditional manner, I want the imagery shown to resonate with emotion.

It is my hope that my artwork will be viewed as positive and uplifting in spirit, while inviting one’s own interpretation of the mood and message.


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