A Solo Exhibition by Helen Merrigan Colfer
3 October - 19 December 2020
Curated by Noelle McAlinden
We are delighted to present Tribes and Tribulations, a solo exhibition by Helen Merrigan Colfer. The internationally renowned artist works from her studio located along the Wexford coastline on the tip of the Hook Head Peninsula, overlooked by one of the oldest working lighthouses in Europe.
Producing mainly resin and bronze figurative sculptures which are precise and elegant, Helen is also presenting audio-visual work, including her most recent Covid Diaries, a series of paintings and illustrations created during lockdown which express wit, humour and sensitivity through a challenging situation which we can all relate to.
The centre piece ‘Tribe’ stands boldly connected yet individually strong, compassionate and monumental. Every sculpture has its own story and offers an opportunity to enter into a personal dialogue with each piece. Individually and collectively, the artist’s work conveys the power and the vulnerability of the human spirit, regardless of our ‘tribe’ or indeed, the tribulations we each encounter.
Reflecting on the title of her exhibition, the artist explores the various personas we acquire and how we are shaped by our environment and the people or ‘tribes’ we associate with, “Our place of origin or the people we are surrounded by can alter our sense of belonging, self-identity & self-belief. If it is negative we can react differently to those who seem to have only experiences of being loved, protected & valued. We preform daily, put on costumes, hide behind masks, fearing that we don’t belong. Constantly in a state of flux.”
Working predominantly in sculpture, the artist prefers the slow, almost meditative pace which allows the work to evolve organically from its initial concept to final completion. She allows herself to be open to changes influenced by fluctuating mood & atmosphere as this is all part of the natural process, to ebb & flow, embrace change & grow.
Her sculptures are detailed, precise & elegant, attempting to unify nature &humanity. They encompass an extensive combination of media & engage a wide range of skill sets & traditional techniques.
Helenʼs resin sculptures are hand built one off pieces that are individually hand modelled over steel armatures using a slow precise building process engaging both additive & reductive techniques. Once a piece is in its final stage a range of decorative media such as handmade oil paints. enamels & 23 carat gold leaf is applied to the surface for embellishment before being sealed & embedded into its polished granite base.
A select range of Helenʼs sculptures are available in bronze, usually in limited editions of 6, 9 or 15 which are cast in an Irish foundry using the lost wax technique. Each bronze piece is hand finished & further embellished personally by the artist herself using a range of enamels & finishes so that within each limited edition every individual piece is in itself also unique.