Helen G Blake is a painter whose practice focuses on colour; engaging with rhythm and formalism, chance and deliberation. Using a working method where process and contemplation are both allowed guide the evolution of the work, she makes small and medium-sized, overtly hand-made paintings which record and examine colour conversations within accumulating pattern structures, embracing accidents, flaws and discrepancies within their rhythms.
Helen Blake grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and graduated with an honours degree in Visual Art from Aberystwyth University, Wales. She currently lives and works in County Wicklow, Ireland.
Aiden Dunne of the Irish Times discusses her work below;
“Helen Blake’s dense, braided abstract compositions consist of rhythmic bands, lines and spots of coloured pigment. A painting is built up in many layers and each layer introduces a new colour. Her palette varies significantly from work to work and relatively speaking she uses a lot of colour, but always judiciously, stepping back from garish tones, developing harmonies that are sometimes obvious, often complex. While her basic language is that of geometric abstraction, she mostly departs from straightforward symmetries, letting each painting follow its own path. The layered, textured surfaces tell a tale of incremental coats of paint, varying amounts of each layer showing through until an end-point is reached.
Each layer can also establish a new regime of pattern, so that selective preservation of underlying layers can leave us with arrangements of distinctive emergent constructions. The process is meticulous, repetitive and entirely manual – no masking tape or other aids – so that patterns can drift away from strict geometries, and there is never that machined look to the edges. It’s also intuitive at every turn. Art historically, Agnes Martin is an obvious point of reference, but so too is the Swedish mystic and artist Hilma af Klint (who features in As Above, So Below, Imma’s forthcoming show on spirituality in visual art)”.