Visually exciting - bright, dynamic and voyeuristic - the work of Helen Beard (Birmingham, UK, 1971) wields colour, texture, and abstraction as tools to take back ownership of sexual imagery from the predominantly male gaze. Beard’s work explores themes relating to gender, sexual psychology and eroticism, forever unapologetic in her depictions of female desire.
Situated between abstraction and representation, her figures are reduced to concisely defined fields of vibrant colour. Working from found images, Beard’s eye for cinematic compositions featuring close-ups and interesting angles reveal her past experience as an assistant art director in the film industry. Against the vigour and excitement of the artist's choice of subject matter and palette, these colour fields in her prints return a touch of tenderness to the abstract scenes, creating a fascinating tension that celebrates humankind’s instinctual fascination with sex, as well as its life-affirming nature.
"In a sense, Helen’s works, rather than articulate or celebrate the pornographic image upon which her pattern is unravelled, actually deny the source its concreteness and reality and thus dilutes it of its capacity as an amulet of and for desire.”
– Matt Carey-Williams in Helen Beard: The Desire Path (Reflex Editions, 2020)
The edition entitled "Illicit Kisses" is a large scale silkscreen print that comes with a signed copy of the Beard's monograph The Desire Path, while the editions entitled "Leda and the Swan", and "Bonita" also accompany a copy of the monograph while housed in a handmade linen slipcase. All editions are signed and numbered by the artist. These editions were produced in close collaboration with the artist on the occasion of her show The Desire Path.