Helen Beard: The Desire Path

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Open: Tue-Sat 11am-6pm

Weteringschans 79 A, 1017 RX, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Open: Tue-Sat 11am-6pm


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Helen Beard: The Desire Path

Amsterdam

Helen Beard: The Desire Path
to Tue 10 Nov 2020
Tue-Sat 11am-6pm

Visually exciting — bright, dynamic and voyeuristic — the work of British artist Helen Beard 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.

Artworks

Illicit Kisses, 2020

Oil on canvas
1500 x 1300 mm

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And the Moon of my Heart is Shining Forth, 2020

Oil on canvas
1300 x 1500 mm

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The Principle of Pleasure, 2020

Oil on canvas
1000 x 1110 mm

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What do you Want? / What do you Need? (Diptych),

Oil on canvas
2000 x 2200 mm

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Meaningless Recreation, 2020

Oil on canvas
2000 x 1850 mm

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Blue Moon, 2020

Oil on canvas
900 x 800 mm
12.700 GBP / 13.750 EUR

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Study for Fleur-de-Lis, 2020

Acrylic on board
192 x 190 mm

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Study for Tulip, 2020

Acrylic on board
273 x 218 mm

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Study for It’s Complicated, 2020

Acrylic on board
244 x 331 mm

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Study for Sweet Kisses, 2020

Acrylic on board
218 x 218 mm

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Reflex Amsterdam presents the artist’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. While Beard’s artistic practice encompasses different mediums, including collage, sculpture, ceramics and needlepoint, The Desire Path focuses on her painting and features work in a diversity of sizes, ranging from small studies to large-scale canvasses. The artist’s small acrylic on board works function as preliminary studies for her oil on canvas paintings, in which she instinctively chooses the colours for her compositions.

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 in the film industry.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Beard’s oil paintings are the brushstrokes left visible in the otherwise dense surfaces of paint. Transitioning to oil from acrylic paint in 2008, Beard started to experiment with the texture of her paintings, creating an entirely different feeling on the surface of the canvas. As Beard explains in an interview in 2018: “[the brushstrokes] are almost like the touch on skin, like fingerprints”. Against the vigour and excitement of the artist’s choice of subject matter and palette, these strokes 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.

Helen Beard (1971) studied at Bournemouth and Poole college of Art and Design, graduating in 1992. The artist participated in Simulation Skin: Selected works from the Murderme Collection (2017) and True Colours (2018) at Newport Street Gallery, London. Her most recent exhibitions include the group show 21st Century Women (2018) curated by Jane Neal and Fru Tholstrup and the solo exhibition It’s Her Factory (2019) at Unit London. The artist’s work can be found in major collections worldwide. Beard lives and works in Brighton, UK.

The Desire Path is Beard’s first exhibition outside of the UK and marks the start of Beard’s representation at Reflex Amsterdam for the Benelux. On occasion of the exhibition, the gallery is publishing Beard’s first monograph including an essay by Matt Carey-Williams.

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)


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