In a world that promotes sexuality and relationships through idealised and arguably unrealistic body expectations, Beard’s kaleidoscopic oil and acrylic paintings reclaim ownership over depictions of the body from the predominant male gaze. With their graphic depictions of explicit sex acts and entwined bodies, the paintings confront the viewer, forcing the audience to engage with the scenes on the artist’s terms.
Beard’s application of oil paint draws on these feelings of intimacy and desire. Though the canvases appear as blocks of colour from afar, their surfaces are abundant with rich textures that mimic the ripples and suppleness of human flesh. In the artist’s words, it is ‘like fingers stroking the skin’.
Born in Birmingham in 1971, Helen studied at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design, graduating in 1992. After graduating, Helen worked as a freelance wardrobe stylist and assistant art director in the film industry for 15 years whilst continuing her art practice, working in various mediums including paint, collage and needlepoint. In 2018 she exhibited her works as part of True Colours - an exhibition showcasing the works of three forward-thinking emerging artists hosted at Damien Hirst’s private museum, Newport Street Gallery in South London. She has since exhibited in 21st Century Women, a group exhibition celebrating 18 of the best female artists practising in the UK today, curated by Fru Tholstrup and Jane Neale at Unit London.