Concern with colour, form and an architectural interest in how painting operates in space when freed of its traditional support, on canvas and stretcher, is at the heart of Helen Calder’s boundary-pushing painting practice. Here painting explores the limits of painting to adopt the terrain of sculpture.
In her three-dimensional paintings, we are offered a direct engagement with the materiality of paint, its colour, textural possibilities and weight . On one hand the work seems to speak to historic male hard edged geometric abstraction but there’s also a sense of soft feminine craft, of fabric draping, of textural colour with surprising juxtapositions and reveals between outer and inner, front and back layers. Paint is built up with multiple colour layers of various opacities and is folded to reveal the layers. The softness of the paint, its pliability and weight, is evident in the drape and fall of each folded form. The steel rod supports which hold the skins presenting as lines, none entirely straight and some surprisingly a little wayward but all an integral part of the work interacting with the rectangular geometry of the paintings.
Based in Christchurch, Helen graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Canterbury in 2003. Her work is held in private and public collections including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Christchurch Art Gallery.