Helen Gørrill

profile

Statement

Helen Gørrill was awarded a Doctorate in contemporary British Painting in 2017, co-supervised by the Royal College of Art. Her PhD thesis Women Can’t Paint was subsequently acquired by the prestigious publishers I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury. Due for publication in March 2019, the book is predicted to become “an important historical text” and “every art student’s bible”. Helen’s new artwork focuses on vandalising old masters and reviving art historical portraits through photo bombing and incorporating elements from contemporary sub-cultures, and often incorporates media such as lipstick, eyeliner and human hair. Within this context, the striking images hover between the 17th century and today’s climate of uncertainty. Helen’s collaged and painted portraits have been commissioned from prestigious clients such as the new Bankside Hotel adj. Tate Modern in London.

She is known for her controversial works: in 2009 her degree show, featuring drawings inspired by religious pamphlets that featured dominant women and sexually submissive men, was censored. Guardian writer Henry Porter wrote, "The male figures have been censored but to protect whom? The spam I receive contains more indecency than Ms Gorrill's work. And it is much less interesting because she makes a valid point."Gorrill’s practice is prolific and diverse, stemming from international artist residencies – and she is one of the few British artists (alongside Tracey Emin) to have her work selected for New York Brooklyn Museum's digital EASCFA archive.

 

Biography

Helen Gorrill’s work takes many different forms of expression, including collage, textiles, drawing, painting and installation. She is known for her controversial works: in 2009 her degree show, featuring drawings inspired by religious pamphlets that featured dominant women and sexually submissive men, was censored. Guardian writer Henry Porter wrote, "The male figures have been censored but to protect whom? The spam I receive contains more indecency than Ms Gorrill's work. And it is much less interesting because she makes a valid point." Gorrill’s practice is prolific and diverse, stemming from international artist residencies – and she is one of the few British artists (alongside Tracey Emin) to have her work selected for New York Brooklyn Museum's digital EASCFA archive. ‘Whilst Gorrill is better known for her more controversial works, some of her newer explorations into urbanism and our animal worlds are stand out’. In paint, Gorrill’s work is large-scale and fluid, ink pigments colliding with each other and giving the illusion or urbanism and spray paint depicting humans and animals, dissecting British prejudices or obsessions. In collage, her work often reappropriates and revives art historical subject matter through paint; and imagery taken from popular culture, Instagram and adult magazines.