Helen Joseph

Helen Joseph is notorious for her boldly drawn black-and-white charcoal drawings of nude women. The drawings have always been more remarkable for their texture and painterliness, than for the depiction of women as perfectly drawn sensuous bodies devoid of emotion. There was no context for these bodies. Neither was there a need for narrative as the drawings cum paintings were about line and texture. This latest series of paintings in oil and watercolour still depend on the drawing for architecture.
Again, there is no need for narrative, as this latest series of work is not about people or figures, but about colour and freedom. “The paintings create themselves,” she says. “It’s very exciting because you don’t know the end result. It’s also very liberating.” These painting do not hide the process. Instead they take the viewer along with the painter on the journey. The same image, with the delicate and detailed drawing as a base, is re-worked through different mediums. Most of the drawing, but not all of it, gets lost in the process of adding veils of colour, either in oil on canvas, or watercolour on printed images of the original drawing. The black-and-white drawing is still there, diffuse, yet strong, still holding everything up. But with the addition of colour, the drawing becomes something else. We envisage along the way that the most ordinary can become extraordinary. We realise that at the heart of Helen Joseph’s work, not only is there is more than one way to look at something, but there are many more questions than answers. To query and explore is much more dynamic than to define and solve.

Helen Joseph

HELEN JOSEPH

NUDE SERIES REWORKED

HELEN JOSEPH

SEATED FIGURE STUDY