Dr. Helen Lees

Artist Biography:

Helen Lees is a British visual artist and poet based near Florence, Italy, since 2019. Lees focuses on portraiture. Since her move to the Tuscan countryside, she is turning towards nature and the wild as inspiration. This is an ongoing journey without known destination. Lees juxtaposes visual images, drawn or painted, to make silent social commentary as much as develop an aesthetic – often seeking beauty. In all instances her aim is to communicate through silence as experience, based on philosophies of silence. Her practice overall combines ideas, images and craft. A portfolio of Tuscan inspired jewellery is in development.

Art Practice:

Helen Lees’ work aims to capture the moment where one speaks and then falls silent for there is nothing to say: the work has done the speaking or communicating for us. Thus the art serves to allow us to enter into a silent space where we can engage with ourselves without world-bound rumination. A response of appreciative and fulfilled nothing is the ideal Lees seeks in her audience. She is, however, keen to talk and engage with those that view her work. This is a tension and paradox only solved, hopefully, by looking again…

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  • Moving forwards, not standing still

    Hatchery residency via artcore? Done. Two exhibitions, some frission, excitement, a bit of a show. Showing one is, does. Somewhat knows. Then there is the next part, which is? For this no script is written although the Hatchery group has decided to stay together. So we continue. Extremely nice and, in fact, a little bit…

  • The InBetween

    What happens next? There’s been the residency, the company of others, the making process of the work and its been very interesting, productive, extremely enjoyable in so many ways. Soon (3rd July) there’ll be the launch party (online of course). Then? Here are some guesses in respect of art and art as business: post Covid…

  • Something Has Changed

    Uh oh. I was quite clear with myself at the start of “artistic life.” Only for the money gal…only for money…do them drawings that pays bills…make me proud. Oops. I’ve started making art which I enjoy. Hopelessly uncommercial. Utterly non-product. But feels like art to me… A new sensation. A realization. An awakening? Joy.

  • I Had Completely Forgotten

    That once upon a time I embarked on being an artist. In 2005. I had my first solo show. Big words. In 2005 I approached the Lapworth Museum, at the University of Birmingham, UK, having eyed their long, wide corridor full of display cases, empty, waiting for me. I suggested an exhibition of works responding…

  • Stand-ards

    If one then is an artist. To be, or not to be? Yes, to be… What standard does one live by? What defines one as qualifying as an artist? What is a good artist? I think, after 30 years part-time pondering of such questions that, for me, finally, it’s about making money. A good artist’s…

  • Stand Up Straight

    It’s hard to be an artist. There’s the economy of the visual arts (I’m thinking of https://www.aup.nl/en/book/9789053565650/why-are-artists-poor). Then there’s the self esteem aspects, linked so closely to culture. In France an artist is a normal person. In England an artist is an anomaly. In Italy an artist is not a person who is alive, artists…

  • Stand By Me

    Through the Hatchery programme of a whatsapp and zooming group of artists I’ve been able to develop tremendously as an artist. Mostly via dissonance and struggle. Through confusion. Bewilderment. I’ve been watching the other artists thinking “What is this? What does this mean?” By whose standard and for whom? Answers are still unclear. Will they…