By: Felicity Carter
Helen Beard's work has been described as visually exciting, bright, dynamic and voyeuristic. The British artist's work is an in your face statement of female sexual ownership. Unapologetic eroticism full of texture and color. A multidisciplinary artist, we decided to focus on her painting. Exploring themes relating to gender, sexual psychology and eroticism. Her figures are reduced to colorful depictions of a powerful statements of Beard's eye for cinematic compositions featuring close-ups and angles. Visible brushstrokes using oil paint as her medium, leaving behind what seems like her own fingerprints. We had the opportunity discuss her work and her views of the world we are living in. Stay tuned for information on her upcoming show. This will be one not to miss.
© Helen Beard
We are living in strange times. Why is it more important now than ever for us to support our artistic community?
Art comes into its own in a situation like the one we are facing now. What else is so important whilst in lockdown when most people can’t work or socialize? At least we have books, poems, films and visual art to look at and feed our minds. It is important to keep our minds healthy as well as our bodies and it proves that we should encourage the arts more as a society, They are all important and often overlooked or devalued in our education system.
Why is creative expression so important in times like these?
Creativity doesn’t stop in times like this and even people that don’t usually create are finding ways to express themselves as a way of staving off boredom.
"Use this time to let your imagination run wild, we may not be able to go anywhere physically but our minds are free to wander wherever we like. "
What drew you to painting as a medium?
I use lots of mediums, I work in collage and I make needlepoint tapestries too, but the reason I love oil paint so much is because I can get lost in the mark making and because I am a colourist at heart, mixing delicious, unctuous, vibrant colours is one of my favorite things to do.
You explore sexuality in a very forward way. What guided you to choose this as your subject matter?
I simply like sex and traditionally women are discouraged from admitting this, but I think it needs to be depicted from a female perspective and I also want to portray it is a positive thing that is often enjoyable. It is such a universal force. I am with Hockney when he says love and food are all you need!
© Helen Beard
What are the important elements of a good composition?
I think a good composition needs to be dynamic, I loved seeing the Modigliani show at the Tate last year, his nudes often stretch diagonally across the canvas. It is a technique that really leads your eye across the painting and makes the body so much more powerful.
Who are some of the artists that have influenced your work over the years?
I love Kusama for her patterns and Louise Bourgeois for her storytelling. I was heavily influenced by Patrick Caulfield, Adami and Gary Hume when I first started painting. But Sarah Lucas is my absolute favorite for her playful use of sex, I so wish I could go and see her show Honey Pie that opened at Sadie Coles just before all the galleries had to close!
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
I would love to collaborate with Sarah Lucas.
When we get out of this pandemic, where is the first place you’d love to go?
I was hoping to go to Italy to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper before the pandemic struck.
Of course I am looking forward to going to Amsterdam for the opening of my new solo show at Reflex Gallery which was due to open this weekend but has been postponed! They are making a monograph of my work and also a limited edition print. I have been working hard and really looking forward to seeing the paintings in the gallery.
We are giving you an open platform. What do you want to tell the people out there?
Use this time to let your imagination run wild, we may not be able to go anywhere physically but our minds are free to wander wherever we like. I am looking forward to experimenting with some new things in the next few months.
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