In Focus :- Helen Hardman ,Expressing mental Health through Art
Today D31 Art Gallery would like to introduce Helen Hardman. Helen is one of our Gallery founding members who was born and raised in Doncaster.
Helen Hardman is a fine artist who suffers from enduring mental health problems, namely paranoid schizophrenia. A large body of her work focuses on this subject.
Helen Hardman works in a wide variety of mediums including oils, acrylics, and inks.
Her current focus is on outsider art; the art wherein its creator never intended it for a gallery space, such as the art of the mentally ill when locked in institutions, or the art of people fleeing war zones; Children’s art could also fit this category.
Shadow Play 2020
Ink on Paper
Helen’s current body of work; drawn in black ink on paper, and known as her alien corridors, uses the obsessive nature of outsider art combined with a style reminiscent of H. R. Giger. While in these pictures there is no direct link to her own mental health experience, the link is still there through the outsider art connection.
Ink on Paper
Helen likes the idea of the viewer feeling they are hiding or escaping from her alien corridors, and some of them almost have a computer game feeling.
Her other current works, focus more directly on her own personal experiences, usually painted in acrylics, or sometimes drawn, again, in black ink, these pictures are more laden with symbology personal to the artist.
Helen does not use traditional symbolic meaning, preferring to invent her own, she says, “symbols mean different things to different people, some people view spiders as scary while others do not, thus I use symbols direct to my personal experiences.”
Helen’s acrylic paintings often feature eyes representing that while ill with paranoid schizophrenia she believed she was being spied on.
The style of her paintings can range from either calm in appearance to scary, representing the range of emotions she felt while ill.
4th Floor Window
Acrylic on paper
This picture represents a time when the artist, so frustrated by the voices she was hearing, and believing she was being spied on, by what she thought were real people, ended up running up to the forth floor window of her university flat and contemplated suicide. The picture does not depict the real window or even look like the real place wherein this occurred as she tends to draw imagery from her imagination.
You can see more of Helens work at D31 Art Gallery on Scot lane in Doncaster or on her instagram page 'helenhardmanart,