Bonita Helmer is a Los Angeles artist who studied painting at UCLA and Antioch University and earned a BFA from Antioch University in 1978.
She continued with graduate work at Otis College of Art and Design, where she worked with Mitsumi Kanemitsu. At a time when painting was considered “dead”, he became a strong influence in the use of abstraction in painting. Also, during post-graduate studies at Otis, Helmer met and studied with Francoise Gilot for three summers and became her assistant in the classes Gilot taught at University of Southern California/Idyllwild campus.
Helmer studied the origins of the universe via physics and astronomy at UCLA and has continued in her personal research into physics and mystical studies.
Helmer’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally; Exhibitions include: MOCA, Beijing; a solo show at L’ Espace Bateau Lavoir, sponsored by L’Ecole des Arts Decoratifs in Paris; an official adjunct show as part the MOCA Los Angeles, Whack retrospective of Women in Art; International Space Conference in Washington, DC.; Newport Harbor Art Museum (Orange County Museum of Art); Gallery Q, Tokyo; French Consulate/Alliance Francaise, Los Angeles, UCLA Dortort Center for the Arts, HUC Museum, NYU campus, Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Helmer has been in several gallery solo and group exhibitions including a 10 year retrospective at George Billis Gallery. She has also done paintings as set design for performance pieces, one co-produced by CalArts and the other in part by an NEA grant.
Helmer has been involved throughout her career with teaching and has received several grants for work in the community. Helmer began teaching at Otis College Art and Design in 1998 into the present.