Photo: Helen Snell in Combeinteignhead, South West

Helen Snell


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.

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

News & Events

  • Critical Military Studies Journal YELLOW by Helen Snell published by Taylor & Francis

    This is a peer-reviewed, international and interdisciplinary journal publishing scholarly work conceptualizing, critiquing and challenging accepted orthodoxies on all aspects of the military.

  • Gather-ing

    03/10/2015 – 11/10/2015
    The Priory Stoke-sub-Hamdon Somerset TA14 6QP

    Contemporary craft commission for The Priory, Stoke Sub Hamdon working with the National Trust and Somerset Art Weeks, curated by Deirdre Figueiredo MBE director of Craftspace.

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    12/09/2015 – 01/11/2015
    Shire Hall Gallery, Stafford

    Burnt Out is a 20-21 Visual Arts Centre touring exhibition of sculptural installations, lighting and two dimensional works funded by a grant from Arts Council England

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  • Ffolio

    31/10/2015 – 02/01/2016
    Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre

    An exhibition of work by six contemporary artists working with paper. Kate Bufton, Angela Davies, Rob Ryan, Andrew Singleton, Helen Snell, Susan Stockwell

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  • Elected as a Trustee of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.

    Elected to stand as a Trustee of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen

  • Burnt Out

    11/07/2015 – 29/08/2015
    Hartlepool Art Gallery

    Burnt Out is a 20-21 Visual Arts Centre touring exhibition of sculptural installations, lighting and two dimensional works funded by a grant from Arts Council England

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  • Paper

    01/04/2015 – 17/05/2015
    Salisbury Arts Centre

    An eclectic exhibition celebrating inventive uses of paper. Paper brings together artists who cut, crease, fold and otherwise manipulate paper in the making of their work.

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  • Selected for made@EU international Fablab project launched by Plymouth College of Art

    Please follow link

  • The Art of Remembering ITN news feature and catalogue download

    The exhibition was featured on the ITN news Catalogue download:

  • Quenington Sculpture Trust Bursary

    Awarded a bursary for making new laser cut work in copper for Fresh Air 2015

  • British Forces News - film feature on A Short Fuze exhibition at NMRN

    Here is a short film feature about my current residency and exhibition at the National Museum of the Royal Navy

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