“What I am seeking is not the real or the unreal but something intangible - the unconscious. It is my job as an artist to deepen this mystery, to explore the instinctive and to make people look.”
British artist Helen Brough is internationally admired for her contemporary series of exuberantly light infused scenes of city, nature, flowers, and landscape. Through bright depictions of moving light and colour Brough’s work is a reverie concerned with the emotive power of natural phenomena.
Specific influences include the symbolic landscape art of the Southern Sung Dynasty particularly in the way pattern and poetry are mediated within one image plane. Indeed, the artist notes she is primarily inspired by the natural world, and her prismatic vision appears transformed by the intersection of dream worlds and optical illusion. Botanical and floral imagery are read within the surface, yet an abstraction of elemental light and hues evoke a sensibility that lies somewhere between Impressionistic treatment of light, Abstract Expressionism and the boldness of post war American art, emerging as a distinctive style of painting that is utterly and refreshingly contemporary.
In many ways, her innovative approach to the subject matter of landscape and botanicals is an extension of Pop Art’s investigation of graphic and palette driven studies of colour, light and form, and may be compared to the expansively large imaginative and abstract work of James Rosenquist. Technically fluent and experimental, Brough’s breathtaking oeuvre includes large scale installations, oil paintings as well as watercolours.
Rosa JH Berland