Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - TANYA MACNAUGHTON

PERTH artist He­len Smith can­not re­mem­ber a time she was not in­ter­ested in art.

Com­ing from a fam­ily of engi­neers, Smith cre­ates for­mal­ist min­i­mal ab­stract works in paint­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy and site-spe­cific in­stal­la­tions.

She was cho­sen by Art Gallery of WA (AGWA) as its next WA Fo­cus ex­hi­bi­tion tal­ent, a new an­nual pro­gram ded­i­cated to show­cas­ing the re­cent and new work of lo­cal artists.

The ex­hi­bi­tion has been cu­rated by Jenepher Dun­can and spans Smith’s works from her fi­nal year at Curtin Univer­sity in 2000 to 2014.

“It is a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity and I’m very grate­ful to have been se­lected,” Smith said.

“I think the pro­gram will ben­e­fit a lot of WA artists by giv­ing them a pro­file and ex­po­sure in our state gallery.”

Smith said when she and Dun­can se­lected the works, they were sur­prised to see the cor­re­la­tions be­tween the older and newer pieces.

The ex­hi­bi­tion has been hung chrono­log­i­cally, be­gin­ning with her Pink Monochromes cre­ated while at univer­sity.

“I was in­ter­ested in the emo­tive qual­i­ties of colour and the way peo­ple re­act dif­fer­ently to colour,” Smith said.

“It’s sub­jec­tive and a paint­ing of what the ob­server wants it to be and quite a lot of my work is like that.”

Colour is also at the cen­tre of her Bor­dello se­ries fea­tur­ing pho­to­graphs she took of bor­dello in­te­ri­ors af­ter hours.

Her Re­uni­fi­ca­tion works join old black and white pho­to­graphs she found at Ber­lin flea mar­kets while liv­ing there with her artist part­ner Jeremy Kir­wan-Ward.

“You could imag­ine at some point they were in a cher­ished fam­ily al­bum and now they were just dis­carded in boxes,” she said.

“It both­ered me and I wanted to re­assem­ble them and give them some sig­nif­i­cance.”

The ex­hi­bi­tion fin­ishes with Smith’s most re­cent Alighiero e Boetti from Wikipedia se­ries inspired by global al­liance or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing the United Na­tions and Eu­ro­zone.

Five works from this se­ries will be taken by Su­bi­aco-based Art Col­lec­tive of WA to Syd­ney Con­tem­po­rary 15 in­ter­na­tional art fair in Septem­ber.

Smith will give a free artist talk in the ex­hi­bi­tion space at 2pm on Satur­day, Au­gust 22.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d442068

AGWA's WA Fo­cus gallery space fea­tures an ex­hi­bi­tion of works by artist He­len Smith.

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