Helen is a mixed media artist, living in North East Suffolk, not far from the sea. In a previous life, she worked as an illustrator, but for the past eleven years she has run Artbox which provides art sessions for adults with special needs in Suffolk.
She uses recycled materials and often works on a grid format which has endless permutations in terms of composition, colour and texture, particularly in its potential for variations in scale.
Detail of Poliochne detail by Helen Murray (left). Mediaeval Green by Helen Murray (right).
“I am interested in the beauty of the ordinary; the overlooked stuff of everyday life - what I call ‘treasure’. It’s everywhere; at home, in the garden, on the beach, in fields, on the street, in junk shops; it’s hard to avoid really.
I use these treasures to make mixed media objects which, I hope, celebrate the very ordinary-ness of their constituent parts. I have slate from my brother’s Devon garden, ancient stones and shells from Felixstowe Ferry, Pakefield and Southwold beaches, twisted clematis and tiny birch twigs from my workshop, metal residue from a sculptor friend's casting sessions. I tear up unsuccessful work and recycle it, I have old encyclopaedias made up of wafer thin foxed pages, perfect for collage. My only rule is: no plastic. It rarely fits into the scheme of things anyway."
Artist Helen Murray working at her desk on a delicate, small piece.
Helen's work is often influenced by ancient history and archaeology, poetry and music.
"My aim is to suggest rather than to define, to provoke the imagination in the manner of poetry or music. The contents of the grids are tiny theatres, places of storytelling. Each story exists according to the interpretation of the viewer; my work is intended as a signpost, not an instruction.
I am no linguist but words have always sung to me and I enjoy the playfulness of language and its capacity for creating wonder. In the words of the wizard Miro –
‘It is signs that have no exact meaning that provoke a magic sense’."
Helen's exhibition, Settlement begins at Babylon Gallery on Thursday 3 December 2020 until Sunday 24 January 2021.