Vanishing Points

Rachael Helmore
EXHIBITION  RUNS
   
February
   
2
 -  
February
   
13
Rachael Helmore is an Australian artist currently living and working in Sydney. Rapid observational drawing – normally without looking at the page – forms the basis of her practice. The result is an exercise in observation and the documentation of fleeting moments between people, objects, landscapes and urban sites.

INFORMATION

‘Vanishing Points’ explores the way we perceive and move through space. Helmore’s practice hinges on observational drawing, and engages techniques that are integral to many art school lessons—blind contour, classical perspective, gestural mark-making. In doing so, she invokes a visual language steeped in art historical references, while simultaneously questioning broader ideas about ways of seeing.

 

In Eden to Nimmitabel (2017), 237 drawings come together to create a video work. Based on a series of photographs taken during a car journey, each still draws out a single moment in time. In past works, Helmore’s hand has marked a page she cannot see—a technique known as ‘blind contour drawing’. These new works, on the other hand, were drawn while the artist’s gaze alternated between the page and the screen, reassessing and correcting each image as it was formed. The mistakes and corrections are left as is, drawing attention to the fickleness of seeing and the seen. In the video, a deliberately paced progression highlights the changes that occur between each image, underscoring the way in which perception is constantly in flux over space and time.

 

Three paintings entitled Vanishing Point (Frame 6), Vanishing Point (Frame 15) and Vanishing Point (Frame 163), are further explorations of the same series of images. A recently developed interest in shape, rather than line, becomes apparent through acrylic and canvas. Muted tones draw attention to the emphasised forms of the surrounding landscape, exploring the way the artist’s mind encounters and makes sense of her position as she navigates through space.

 

Vanishing points are points in a landscape at which objects in sight disappear; a technique often used by artists to create a sense of space on a two-dimensional plane. Natasha Chuk asserts that the singular vanishing point “cements the expectation of a unified perspective and linear trajectory,”[1] meaning that the potential for the pluralistic, the contradictory, the questioning, the metaphysical and the imaginary, all of which are facets of aesthetic creation, are largely occluded. Helmore explores the limitations of measured perception, calling out lingering ideals that stem from a Western art historical framework. In doing so, she suggests that they are distortions of certainty rather than explanations of truth.

Collectively, this exhibition forms a poetic argument that there exist innumerable vanishing points—some of which are visible while others remain elusive—that cannot always be mapped by the inevitability of linear perspective or photographic documentation. As a person looks at things and spaces, the appearance of those things and spaces shift—eyes dart, thoughts oscillate, bodies move. Importantly, ‘Vanishing Points’  reveals to audiences that these arbitrary points of disappearance also implicate a vantage point from which they are (un)seen.

Who is seeing and why do they see this way? 

 

[1] Natasha Chuk, Vanishing Points: Articulations of Death, Fragmentation and the Unexperienced Experience of Created Objects, Bristol, UK and Chicago, USA: Intellect Books, 2015, 7.

Works by Rachael Helmore / Words by Katie Ukleja Curated by Rachael Helmore and Katie Ukleja

‘Vanishing Points’ explores the way we perceive and move through space. Helmore’s practice hinges on observational drawing, and engages techniques that are integral to many art school lessons—blind contour, classical perspective, gestural mark-making. In doing so, she invokes a visual language steeped in art historical references, while simultaneously questioning broader ideas about ways of seeing.

 

In Eden to Nimmitabel (2017), 237 drawings come together to create a video work. Based on a series of photographs taken during a car journey, each still draws out a single moment in time. In past works, Helmore’s hand has marked a page she cannot see—a technique known as ‘blind contour drawing’. These new works, on the other hand, were drawn while the artist’s gaze alternated between the page and the screen, reassessing and correcting each image as it was formed. The mistakes and corrections are left as is, drawing attention to the fickleness of seeing and the seen. In the video, a deliberately paced progression highlights the changes that occur between each image, underscoring the way in which perception is constantly in flux over space and time.

 

Three paintings entitled Vanishing Point (Frame 6), Vanishing Point (Frame 15) and Vanishing Point (Frame 163), are further explorations of the same series of images. A recently developed interest in shape, rather than line, becomes apparent through acrylic and canvas. Muted tones draw attention to the emphasised forms of the surrounding landscape, exploring the way the artist’s mind encounters and makes sense of her position as she navigates through space.

 

Vanishing points are points in a landscape at which objects in sight disappear; a technique often used by artists to create a sense of space on a two-dimensional plane. Natasha Chuk asserts that the singular vanishing point “cements the expectation of a unified perspective and linear trajectory,”[1] meaning that the potential for the pluralistic, the contradictory, the questioning, the metaphysical and the imaginary, all of which are facets of aesthetic creation, are largely occluded. Helmore explores the limitations of measured perception, calling out lingering ideals that stem from a Western art historical framework. In doing so, she suggests that they are distortions of certainty rather than explanations of truth.

Collectively, this exhibition forms a poetic argument that there exist innumerable vanishing points—some of which are visible while others remain elusive—that cannot always be mapped by the inevitability of linear perspective or photographic documentation. As a person looks at things and spaces, the appearance of those things and spaces shift—eyes dart, thoughts oscillate, bodies move. Importantly, ‘Vanishing Points’  reveals to audiences that these arbitrary points of disappearance also implicate a vantage point from which they are (un)seen.

Who is seeing and why do they see this way? 

 

[1] Natasha Chuk, Vanishing Points: Articulations of Death, Fragmentation and the Unexperienced Experience of Created Objects, Bristol, UK and Chicago, USA: Intellect Books, 2015, 7.

Works by Rachael Helmore / Words by Katie Ukleja Curated by Rachael Helmore and Katie Ukleja

FEATURED  WORKS

Rachael Helmore, Vanishing Points 1

Rachael Helmore, Vanishing Points 2

Rachael Helmore, Princess Highway

OTHER  EXHIBITIONS