Photo: Helen Snell in Combeinteignhead, South West

Helen Snell

Artist
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Combining the mass produced and the unique is, for me, humorous and ironical and full of suggestion and contradiction. I am interested in the process of reproduction (printmaking, laser cutting, high tech and lo-tech) and also by the theme of reproduction (with reference to the ethical debate surrounding biotechnology, genetics, sex and consumerism). Printed images and multiples enable a process of vulgarisation, undermine the obsession with originality, so that content becomes the primary concern. The repetition of the same imagery echoes our obsession with labels and brands as assurances of quality and also, paradoxically, echoes our fears provoked by images of cloning and other genetic interventions. I am especially interested in the idea of the imperfect edition. Traditionally a printmaker is to be congratulated on his or her skill in producing a perfect edition. I have always found this to be a very mechanical approach; after the thrill of pulling the first few prints the process is predictable, a routine. To subvert the idea of an edition is exciting and a good metaphor for the paradoxical relationship between group identity and individuality. In the natural world we are familiar with classification along the lines of type yet on reflection every single leaf on a beech tree, as well as being true to type, is distinctly different. I often take my starting point from commercial packaging nets that I customise in terms of structure and scale. Individual structures can then become units in a giant construction set, with the potential for endless configurations or systematic modifications and reworkings according to context. My current series of laser cut paper and acrylic vessels explore the theme of survival. read full statement

Location Combeinteignhead, South West
Activities Lecturing, Practice-based research, Residencies, Public art, Private commissions
Artforms Digital, Installation, Mixed Media, Research, Sculpture
Tags laser cut, paper cut, water jet cut, multiples, imperfect editions, installation

News & Events

  • Materials Matter

    21/06/2014 – 07/09/2014
    Devon Guild of Craftsmen

    This year’s exhibition will take the opportunity to celebrate the diversity of materials chosen and used by the Members of the Guild.

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  • ORIEL DAVIES OPEN 2014

    My work Liferaft with Filaments has been selected. The exhibition runs until 18th June

  • A Short Fuze

    01/06/2014 – 31/10/2014
    EXPLOSION. The museum of naval firepower, Gosport.

    A site specific exhibition inspired by the history of the site as a munitions factory and the human cost of producing weapons.

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  • Oriel Davies Open 2014

    19/04/2014 – 18/06/2014
    Oriel Davies Gallery, Newtown, Powys, Wales

    One of my laser cut layered paper works entitled Lifebuoy with Filaments has been selected for the 2014 Open.

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  • BURNT OUT

    13/09/2014 – 01/11/2014
    Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk

    Funded by a grant from Arts Council England, this exhibition has been inspired by access to iconic artefacts held within the collections of the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

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  • BURNT OUT

    15/11/2014 – 04/01/2015
    Shire Hall Gallery, Staffordshire

    Funded by a grant from Arts Council England, this exhibition has been inspired by access to iconic artefacts held within the collections of the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth.

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