In May Day
Dates & Times : 6 July – 4 August 2023, Tue – Fri 10am – 5pm
Opening and In Conversation Talk with Helen Cantwell & Sean Kissane.6 July, 6pm, Studio 12
In her first solo exhibition, In My Day, Helen Cantwell looks through time from the 6th Century BC to the modern day and studies the unruly expression of gender and sexuality. Cantwell’s practice sits at the intersection of digital art, print and installation. Through seven digital collages, Cantwell investigates themes of femininity, secrecy, protest, safety and erotica. Through her artistic interpretation, the artist re-examines seminal figures, celebrating their lasting impact. The large scale of her collages looks to protest murals and the use of adhesive vinyl is a reference to guerrilla activism. Using found images and interlacing text from poems, letters and placards, the practice illuminates’ gaps in a rich history while celebrating an increased visibility of the LGBTQ+ community today. This exhibition was developed during Helen’s time at Backwater Artists Group on the Ciarán Langford Bursary.
Helen Cantwell – Artist Bio
Helen Cantwell is a Cork based artist whose work explores the semiotics of social marginalisation. Cantwell’s research-based practice uses found imagery from the internet and an exploration of influential texts and figures to forge connections to the past and to critically examine the present, fostering a deeper understanding of contemporary social issues. By integrating digital and print media, the artist allows for the transposition of internet aesthetics into tangible environments – creating a bridge between different modes of media consumption. Cantwell uses techniques of collage to layer the physical configurations of the artwork, these are further layered through digital technologies, processing and re-processing the original composition until it becomes a unique and lyrical image. This manipulation of the image reflects the artist’s interest in communication technologies, repetition in the media, and platform capitalism. These themes are expanded by her use of text and repeating motifs.
Cantwell graduated from Crawford College of Art and Design in 2022 with a BA in Fine Art. She has exhibited in the Student Engagement Exhibition 2022 with MTU’s Arts Office, as well as exhibiting in the Roberts Nathan Student of the Year Exhibition facilitated by Lavit Gallery Cork. She was a recipient of the Ciarán Langford Memorial Bursary 2022 and MTU’s Multimedia Residency 2022. Cantwell’s work is in the collections of PM Group and Eli Lily.
Travels in Hyper Reality, Crane Visual, Dance Firkin Crane Cork, curated by Dermot Browne
Hand of Man, Backwater Artists, Wandesford Quay, curated by Stella Kramer
Helen Cantwell – Artist Statement
Cantwell’s research-based practice uses found imagery and an exploration of influential texts and figures to forge connections to the past and gain insight into global issues. Combining digital and print media, she is interested in bringing internet aesthetics to physical spaces – creating a bridge between generations and how we consume media. Drawn to the action of layering, Cantwell uses collage to layer not only her imagery but her methods, often bringing physical collage into Photoshop to further manipulate. This manipulation of the image reflects the artist’s interest in mass communication, repetition in the media and systemic corruption. These themes are expanded by her use of text and repeating motifs.