Helen Rawlins
Helen Rawlins



Still life paintings, such as those by the Duch Master Willem Claesz Heda, held symbolic notions of imbalance and impermanence. These are given prominence through the depiction of everyday vessels - inanimate objects that surround us in our everyday lives through daily activities such as drinking tea, or sharing a meal.  This comonality lends the objects a sense of anonymity and universality, although they can hold many kinds of meanings and memories. As Giorgio Morandi's persistent re-positioning and rearranging of objects in his work, I too have a constant 'cast of characters' in my practice. To me, they become metaphors for our relationships or interaction, through shifting perspectives - the commonplace as containers for meaning - gathered together as piled masses or staggered as onlookers. The image is often suspended in a void, unencumbered by additional information, to focus the viewer on the internal relationships being played out.

 

Through 'drawing' and the chance application of dripping paint, I feel nearer to the work, the physicality of the process - such as the way that Jackson Pollock worked - portraying the process of the hand directly from the artist, initially without the intermediary of the brush. I am examining differences in the way paint behaves on surfaces - canvas, board or paper - trying to control, to a certain extent, the uncontrollable fluidity of the paint. The anxiety of the process being in tune with the sense of apprehension or unease that can be portrayed through the composition of objects.

 

Using domestic objects, the projected images in much of my fine art photographic work are focal points; drawing the viewer in but creating a false narrative. The alluring quality of light is a central aspect together with how trust in the power of one’s observation can be undermined. Vanitas and the stages of ageing and mortality are frequently important themes; while the influences of historic fictitious reflections in paintings and aspects of trompe-l’oeil are elemental. 

 

Light and reflections are also key features of photographic images of cities such as Venice, New York and London. Recent photographic commissions have been presented in a variety of formats whilst highlighting the impact of natural and artificial light in the urban environment.