The Skinny Showcase: Helen Wheeler

Gallery | 12 Jan 2015

Showcase: Helen Wheeler

Helen Wheeler is an artist based in Manchester. Apocalypse, the sublime, health and science are all areas of research that inform her practice. In 2013 she received the NADFAS Bursary Award for Fine Art, which enabled her to continue her studies at Manchester School of Art, where she is currently reading for an MFA in Fine Art.

Working across disciplines and having a highly experimental practice allows Wheeler to employ a wide use of processes and materials within her practice, which frequently have metaphorical significance. Her sculptural drawings explore the possibilities of change, utilising heat, time and natural forces such as gravity and magnetism. The resultant works draw strong parallels with nature on both a macro and micro scale.

“Currently I am exploring relationships between mortality, the body and science, utilising the creation process of blown glass to negotiate the possibilities of drawing in three-dimensional space. I think of the whole process of blowing a glass piece as a form of drawing; the hot glass is drawn from the kiln, the glass is drawn out to create the embryo of a form, it is worked by hand, using soaked paper and graphite tools to help mould and shape it. I draw my breath to create the hollow vessel which expands into physical space.

"Exploring notions of growth, separation, replication and malfunction, I frequently repeat processes in order to evolve my glass forms beyond functioning objects, creating multiples that are similar and yet distinct. The resultant forms are the culmination of pushing hand-blown and stretched glass to its structural limits, encapsulating the breath, time and gravity to create fragile functionless objects which possess an internal beauty, frozen in a state of imminent change or collapse.”

Helen Wheeler won the 2013 Leonard James Little Fine Art Prize, and the 2013 NADFAS Fine Art Award. She has recently exhibited at the 5plus Architects New Creative Talents (Manchester International Festival, 2013), Northern Graduates (Curwen Gallery, London, 2013), Experience Needed (Manchester, 2013), CUE: art in Manchester (2013), Third Space (Cardroom Gallery, Manchester, 2014), MA Show (Manchester School of Art, 2014).