Appreciating the art of Helen Proctor

I wanted to draw some focus onto Helen Proctor, an Australian artist who also worked in Europe. Her work employs interlocking shapes to create abstract landscapes. Her work is nostalgic and her colour palette, pleasing to the eye. What I think is interesting about her work is the economy of form that is interlocking, a tactic used by graffiti artists without the emphasis on the same formal standards used by artists and graphic designers. The colours that she employs will normally be quite harmonious with a softness that is attractive and shows how well she can work with colour. Normally graffiti artists will use interlocking shapes though the work that comes to mind is either a background element or an overall approach that will be less conscious of colour and more about graffiti as a separate genre of art-making.

There is a similar approach with street art although street art will lend itself to making work for the public. I feel it is ingenious to find a way to create something that tips a hat to modernist abstraction and creates a strong visual voice. Although the voice is softly spoken and subtle. The real challenge for artists who employ abstraction is to have a very exact understanding of composition although basing it on landscapes, leaves the artist with the problem of what to leave out or leave-in. To be frank, a lot gets lost in any replication and the point of these works is to get lost in colour and semblances. Any viewer will find themselves drawn into a simple world full of feelings and their own memories. To me, I feel that the point of street art is to find the simplest way into a transaction of pleasure.

The pleasure doesn’t just have to be a work that is pleasing to the eye, if we think of Banksy, the real pleasure is understanding the witticism or quip. Banksy’s work is rather difficult visually but he always makes sure there is a strong message that is carried through all of his work. Helen Proctor gets straight to the point of a nostalgic meeting of minds, where the viewer understands what they are supposed to get out of the work. Although she does it in an understated way that has subtlety and isn’t imposing. Banksy on the other hand can be difficult and sometimes challenging. Helen Proctor isn’t trying to challenge the viewer but draw them into a rather beautiful world. Although for some, her work could be full of hidden threats, employed for the sake of gentrification. Although no artist can make work for everybody, even though street art tries to. The real point of art is to create a world in which people can hopefully transcend their troubles, even if really, it is only momentary.    

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