Helen Acklam lives in Bristol and works at BV Studios, Bedminster. Since a return to a full-time art practice in 2012, (MA Fine Art, University of Brighton) she has participated in collaborations, residencies and exhibitions in London, Brighton, Hastings and Bristol.
Directed by her personal experiences, Helen is interested in ideas and questions that emerge with an exploration of the self and identity, and the connections between personal experience and larger social and political structures.
Helen is interested in creating opportunities for artists to work together. In 2016 she set up The Unit in central Bristol, and in 2019, The Garage – a residency space in Bristol for collaboration, talks, experimentation.
This work was made during lockdown. I welcomed the chance to turn away from the cacophony of noise and images and set myself some basic and limiting rules – no phone, computer, just drawing materials for one hour a day. My stimulus was an old family photograph, an article about a Jasper Johns’ exhibition, a quote by JG Ballard and a corner of an El Greco painting. Eventually, shapes and ideas emerged and I wanted to paint. The palette and materials were a response to the things I’d been thinking about – ways that meaning is constructed and resides within the body; painting as a bodily experience; muscle memory; the intertwined chaotic nature of memory and time; a search for language and a longing for completeness, resolve.
This work considers the themes of public and private, disturbance and familiarity, dislocation and connection and the role of story telling, within the family and within society, to shape identity and inform our sense of belonging.
There is an attempt to unify fractured experiences, through a process of tearing and wrapping, and to acknowledge the value of intuition, imagination and the unconscious to talk about these things.
- September – PURE Autumn Arts Fair, Battle – prize awarded, ‘Emerging Artist’
- October – Mutopia, DeptfordX, London
- October – STRARTA, Saatchi Gallery, London
- October – 128, Brighton
- 22 May – 12 July Wing Gallery, Wadhurst, Sussex
- 3 July – 10 July MA Fine Art 2014, Degree Show, University of Brighton.
- 12 – 20 September Pure Arts Fair, East Sussex – prize awarded ‘Best Overall Artist’
- March – STRATA, Clerkenwell, London
- 8 – 12 December – FLUX, Royal College of Art, London
- 16 June – 16 July – Wing Gallery Wadhurst, Sussex
- 22 – 24 July – The Other Art Fair, Arnolfini, Bristol
- 1 – 30 August – The Arcades Project at The Unit, St James Arcade, Bristol
- 2 – 9 September – Group Exhibition, Spike Island Test Space, Bristol
- 1 – 30 September – ‘Bodies’ – a residency at The Unit, St James Arcade, Bristol
- October – RWA Annual Open 2016
- 21 October – 19 November – Black Swan Arts Open 2016, Frome, Somerset
- 2 + 3 February – TateExchange, Tate Modern, London with Spike Associates
- 28 April – 1 May – Spike Associates at Spike Open Studios Weekend, Spike Island, Bristol
- 30 April – 30 June – Adelina Yard, Bristol. (exhibition with Victoria Coombes)
- 15 July – 15 October – Southmead General Hospital, Bristol (group exhibition, Synecdoche)
- 7 – 11 July – Kopfkino: a TAPS group exhibition at The Crypt, Southville Road, Bristol BS3 1DG
- July – on-line solo exhibition at babyforest.co/insearch
- 19th – 27th September – seiTies: a TAPS group exhibition at The Vestibules, City Hall, Bristol.
- 7 October – 25 November – 166 Annual Open Exhibition at The Royal West of England Academy.
- 6 – 9th December – London Ultra, The Bargehouse, Barge House St, South Bank, London SE1 9PH
- 8 – 20th December – Spaces Reimagined: a TAPS group exhibition at Kosar Contemporary, part of The Works, Bristol, BS3
- 12 July – 4 August – Cosmic Fishing: a group exhibition with (3) Turps Banana painters.
- 20 July – 11 August – Wells Art Contemporary, Wells Cathedral
- 9 – 15 September – with Whitenoise Projects at The Crypt, Kings Cross, London
2016 – Selected for Freshpaint Magazine, International Issue no 14
2019 – Art Habens, Biennial, Vol iv