Helen Beard at Unit London
Helen Beard’s paintings provide the viewer with a powerful visual experience. Her canvases, layered with interlocking colourful panels of geometric block colour display closely cropped sexual images.
Working from found imagery, Helen Beard’s work explores themes relating to gender, sexual psychology and eroticism. Her works, although derived from pornographic material, cannot be construed as crude, but instead are joyous and celebratory in nature. The works portray the vivid nature of sexual experience in a technicolour palette of stylised shapes, textured with a myriad of fluid brushstrokes that stroke the skin of those depicted, like fingers on the skin. The works do an incredible amount to take back ownership of sexual imagery from the male gaze associated with artwork exploring the theme of sex.
Born in Birmingham in 1971, Helen studied at Bournemouth and Poole college of Art and Design, graduating in 1992. After graduating, Helen worked as a freelance wardrobe stylist and assistant art director in the film industry for fifteen years whilst continuing her art practice, working in various mediums including paint, collage and needlepoint. In 2018 she exhibited her works as part of True Colours - a group exhibition showcasing the works of forward-thinking emerging artists hosted at Damien Hirst’s private museum, the Newport Street Gallery in South London. She has since exhibited in 21st Century Women, a group exhibition celebrating eighteen of the best female artists practising in the UK today, hosted by curators Fru Tholstrup and Jane Neale at Unit London.