Helen Walsh

BA (Hons) Fine Art - Canterbury

Theme

My current work, a series of manipulated kitchen utensils serving previous works in a regurgitated form, attempts to articulate my opinions on value systems in economies of differing scales.

Crushing my previous work was a vital stage in my process. It symbolised a sacrificial response to feedback and cleansed my pallet to begin a new conversation after processing new information.

Much like Amikam Toren’s ‘Neither a Painting nor a Statue’ (1979), where Toren takes an object considered commercial and kitsch, and changes its form to earn it a place in a more highly valued aesthetic economy, my previous work needed to be smashed, but it was equally important to include it. The original works did not articulate my thought process properly, but they taught me the language needed to communicate via the more recent pieces.

I explored the hierarchy of positions in our society vs wages, then brought it into the conversation of aesthetics in the arts. In previous works, I set out to exploit value systems within various economies, from class systems, specifically comparing the wages of different jobs vs the importance of those jobs, to the systems of hierarchy within the arts, asking the viewer to rate the importance of architecture/music/painting etc.

Where we choose to place value has been a stimulant for my work, such as my series of useless, beautiful shelves made earlier this year. Considering aesthetics vs function, resin allowed me to execute my vision best. That series showed me it would also be the best material for my current works.

The decision to use kitchen utensils stemmed from lengthy discussions around wall brackets. I was looking at artists who use humour to discuss very serious issues, such as Ceal Floyer and Mona Hatoum, and paired with feeling defensive over previous installation choices/decisions, I had the idea to smash up my work, use spoons instead of brackets and spoon-feed bitesize art to make my concept more ‘digestible’.

The arrangement of my sculptures on the gallery wall is intended as a nod to the domestic and all it evokes. A kitchen is a universal place of hygiene, method, and routines; I wanted this to echo in my practice to signify the process of adapting previous ‘recipes’ to create something that better translates my concept. To destroy, chop, repurpose and evolve are also mirrored in societal structures as a response to new knowledge.

Inspired by Martha Roslers calm performance of ‘Semiotics of the Kitchen’ (1975), I made links between my art and concepts playful and pun-like rather than aggressive. I am interested in the response from the viewer and whether this makes the conversation more approachable and/or inclusive.

 

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Helen Walsh | Fine Art 5
Regurgitate – Helen Walsh – University for the Creative Arts
Helen Walsh | Fine Art 4
Regurgitate – Helen Walsh – University for the Creative Arts
Helen Walsh | Fine Art 3
Regurgitate – Helen Walsh – University for the Creative Arts
Helen Walsh | Fine Art 2
Regurgitate – Helen Walsh – University for the Creative Arts
Helen Walsh | Fine Art 1
Regurgitate – Helen Walsh – University for the Creative Arts
Helen Walsh | Fine Art
Regurgitate – Helen Walsh – University for the Creative Arts

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