Helen Gørrill





With First Class degrees in Painting, Drawing, and Textiles, Helen Gørrill received her Contemporary Painting Doctorate in 2016, co-supervised by the Royal College of Art.


Her art book Women Can’t Paint was published in 2020 by Bloomsbury, to critical acclaim, and is now held in collections of prestigious institutions worldwide, including Tate, V&A, Stedelijk, the Met, Brooklyn Museum, the Finnish National Gallery, and many more. Helen’s artwork is also archived by the artabase at New York’s Brooklyn Museum alongside Tracey Emin, and her work is held in private collections across the world. In 2019, her portraits were selected at Miami Art Basel week (Pulse) as a highlight by Architectural Digest USA and Middle East.


Helen’s work has been written about in the national and international presses, and her defaced classic portraits form the centrepiece for London’s prestigious 5* Bankside Hotel. She’s also written for the Guardian on the arts, and her work mentioned in the new art ‘bible’ Great Women Artists published by Phaidon.


Helen works largely with mixed media, combining traditional oil paint with collage – the collage is not produced digitally but by hand; her artworks produced using techniques from within the field of expanded painting. Gørrill’s collages explore ideas about time, history and reality; using contemporary imagery that juxtaposes with the Old Masters she sets out to reappropriate. Her artwork focuses on vandalising old paintings and reviving art historical portraits through photobombing and incorporating elements from contemporary sub-cultures, and sometimes adds media such as lipstick, eyeliner and human hair. Within this context, the striking images hover between the renaissance and today’s climate of uncertainty; the deliberately defaced portraits by old masters refuse to become the passive objects they once were.  The artist invites us to go on a journey through the human soul in which we are challenged to find out who we are, who we might have been and who we could become.


You can learn more about Helen’s work at Bankside on this short film clip here: https://vimeo.com/313344575.