Helen Bowman is exhibiting in the Journal Window
with her opening coinciding with the OPEN STUDIOS Nicholas Building event.
Photography by Terence Bogue
My starting point is a delight in the natural world, particularly in landscape - in the folds and mounds of earth that echo the sensual forms of the body, the colours, the light, shade and the texture and relationship between the earth itself and the vegetation that cloaks, frames and grows out of it.
This delight is tempered by an awareness of the degree to which human activity impacts on the land - shaping, changing and permanently modifying the natural forms. These processes both indelibly scar and transform it creating an, often paradoxical, beauty.
I am interested in exploring through my work the way in which we change the landscape. As someone who works with metal I feel it is important to acknowledge the impact the methods of extracting metal have on the land.
I’m interested in working with largely recycled, base metals because they are very familiar yet their idiosyncratic beauty is often overlooked. I’m drawn to galvanised iron as a material, in particular, because it is such an eloquent, and familiar, metaphor for the Australian light and landscape. It is an uncompromising material, softened and made sparkling by the crystalline surface of its zinc coating. Working with zinc on its own is a delight with its subtle colour and the softness of the metal.
I find working in a way that minimises the introduction of other materials is very satisfying as it maintains the integrity of the material– so wherever possible the fittings are cut out of the metal and is slotted together rather than being soldered.