Themes in Helen's work surrounds the fragility of the human condition, in relation to both mortality and modernity. This involves various interpretations of decay as both a literal process and a state of mind.
The work emanated from looking at decay in general terms. The parallel in the decay of organic life and the passing seasons is used as a metaphor to depict the same process in the form of a figure. This has been explored through posture and surface, and by revealing the interior of each piece, trying to incorporate layers of meaning.
Her influences include Prof. Gunther Von Hagens whose ‘Bodyworks’ exhibition explored the interior of the body, and also Frida Kahlo, whose paintings delve beneath the surface to the inner workings of the body. The sculptures of Mary Frank are another major influence, as well as the ceramicists Carmen Dionyse and Paula Rice who both use the surface of their figures like a canvas to explore colour and texture.
The work Helen produces is made in a combination of terra-cotta and White St. Thomas Paperclay. These are formed in moulds from modelled pieces and body casts with hand built interiors to provide strength to the fragile surface. Colour and texture are applied to the clay prior to the building process. After the work is fired she will apply a combination of oxides and glazes which are then washed off to emphasise the cracks and marks on the surface.
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