WA talent in focus

Helen Smith. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d442068
Helen Smith. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d442068

PERTH artist Helen Smith cannot remember a time she was not interested in art.

Coming from a family of engineers, Smith creates formalist minimal abstract works in painting, photography and site-specific installations.

She was chosen by Art Gallery of WA as its next WA Focus exhibition talent, a new annual program dedicated to showcase the recent and new work of local artists.

The exhibition has been curated by Jenepher Duncan and spans Smith�s works from her final year at Curtin University in 2000 to 2014.

�It is a tremendous opportunity and I�m very grateful to have been selected,� Smith said.

�I think the program will benefit a lot of WA artists by giving them a profile and exposure in our State gallery.�

Smith said when she and Duncan selected the works, they were surprised to see the correlations between the older and newer pieces.

The exhibition has been hung chronologically, beginning with her Pink Monochromes created while at university.

�I was interested in the emotive qualities of colour and the way people react differently to colour,� she said.

�It�s subjective and a painting of what the observer wants it to be and quite a lot of my work is like that.�

Colour is also at the centre of her Bordello series featuring photographs she took of bordello interiors after hours.

Her Reunification works join old black and white photographs she found at Berlin flea markets while living there with her artist partner Jeremy Kirwan-Ward.

�You could imagine at some point they were in a cherished family album and now they were just discarded in boxes,� she said.

�It bothered me and I wanted to reassemble them and give them some significance.�

The exhibition finishes with Smith�s most recent Alighiero e Boetti from Wikipedia series inspired by global alliance organisations including the United Nations and Eurozone.

Five works from this series will be taken by Art Collective of WA to Sydney Contemporary 15 international art fair in September.

Smith will give a free artist talk in the exhibition space at 2pm on Saturday, August 22.


What: WA Focus � Helen Smith

Where: Art Gallery of WA

When: until October 18