Helen Gorrill’s collages seek to reappropriate the historical tradition of the objectification of the female nude in art history, her work a commingling of stylistic influences from Picasso, Matisse and Chagall to old glamour magazines, vintage wallpapers and text.
This political assertion gives her a platform to create a highly charged series of collages that defy the status quo and forces us to re-evaluate the male orientated gaze that has filled Western Culture for millennia; the female form as muse and image re-imagined, defiant. In many ways Gorrill’s work is rooted in Punk and its overwhelming desire to break down the barriers, to bring the feminist agenda to the streets, to make art that redefines how we look at the world, how we treat each other and how we perceive images in contemporary culture. The result is a series of vibrant, energetic collages that lie in direct confrontation to George Baselitz’s notorious critique on women painters when he stated that ‘women artists cannot paint well…they simply don’t pass the art market test, the value test’.
Baselitz’s lazy, misogynist view of women’s role in art is one of the driving forces behind Gorrill’s art practice and has led her to study for a PHD in which she has been investigating gender, valuation and visibility in the British art market and has led to her developing a critical comparative analysis of contemporary British women painters’ aesthetics and art market performance.
We need more artists taking overt political stances if we are to move on as a society, for too long artists have been pawns in an art market game, the work consumed by an avaristic consumer culture. It is so refreshing to come across the work of an artist who is not content to go with the flow but rather seeks to use her practice to open our eyes to the inequality that exists in every strata of our society. (Mutant Art Space 2015)