HELEN BRITTON Interstices
February 11 – April 15, 2017
In conjunction with the Perth International Arts Festival, The Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery at the University of Western Australia presents a new exhibition showcasing 25 years of work from renowned Australian artist and one of the world’s leading contemporary jewellers, Helen Britton.
Born in Australia and now residing in Munich, Britton has developed an international reputation for her innovative practice as a contemporary artist working in the fields of jewellery, drawing and installation. Britton meticulously constructs her work from metals, glass, precious stones and sourced components. Pieces can now be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, The National Gallery of Australia, the Pinakothek der Modern in Munich, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, The Art Gallery of Western Australia, and many more galleries and museums around the world.
UWA Chief Cultural Officer, Professor Ted Snell said, “Britton is herself ‘in between’, rooted in both Germany and Australia. Her work is a meditation on her own history as she engages with artefacts and environments that act as powerful triggers. Germany’s weight of history stabilizes, while Australia generates a sense of urgency and of making do. Australia’s history can only be borrowed from those that have lived here for millennia; it is a place that requires re-forming and re-imagining to make it your own. In Australia, Britton draws from the Western Australian coastal environment and its openness as a space for reflection and inspiration. Over the past two decades she has created a small series of private works on regular visits to Western Australia. Helen Britton: Interstices will be the first time they will all be shown together in the context of a new body of work that interprets this activity from the distance of her studio in Munich.” Inspired by the history of popular culture, Britton creates works that trigger memory. In examining these finely crafted objects, or experiencing the atmosphere of the exhibition scenography, you discover forms that resonate, establishing a dialogue between artist, object, space and observer.
Professor Snell states, “Britton’s studio is a Wunderkammer, a room of marvels where worlds collide, and meanings proliferate. In this charged space of focused inquisitiveness, analytical investigation and passionate engagement she seeks out the exotic, the elemental and the esoteric with childlike wonder, determined to know more, to understand and to embrace what she encounters. Once her works leave the studio all interpretations are open and each becomes re-activated through our engagement as wearers, participants and viewers. Examining these finely crafted objects we seek out the codes that resonate. For some this requires a forensic investigate of the structure that holds the elements together, while for others it is detailed analysis of the component parts and their interconnections that provides meaning. We are open to their histories and each of us brings our own narratives to play as we enter into multifaceted dialogue. This is the moment of transfiguration!”