Helen Brayshaw, Dislocation

‘ … I lost a glove
and while the other
hung on to me
for all I’m worth,
the first roamed free
over the earth

I lost a glove
and found another,
another sheath,
a shade of leather
that seemed to breathe
a different weather …’
Justin Quinn

‘Thing-power gestures toward the strange ability of ordinary, man-made items to exceed their status as objects and to manifest traces of independence or aliveness, constituting the outside of our own experience’
Jane Bennett

‘Worldwide, one in every 113 people on the planet is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking shelter’
Helen Storey

A glove lies on a deserted pavement. Its singularity offers up a new totality yet negates the relation to its other. It is winter, and in cold cities and open spaces gloves are removed for hands to perform tasks, then inadvertently released and left behind. Sometimes, expanding distance makes it too difficult to trace the footsteps of reunion. 

Helen Brayshaw draws on New Materialism philosophies to inform her painting practice through close engagement with its materiality. Emerging from everyday routine, her work revolves around matter; seeking it out, or just happening upon it, handling and contemplating it, then re-forming it into both substrate and pigment. The substances she re-purposes are diverse; junk mail, lint, textiles lost to the landscape, unidentifiable burnt things, sweepings from a gem cutter’s floor. What particularly interests her are things which slip out of the systems we spend our daily lives trying to maintain, hence her major artistic concern is capturing unfastened matter and its associated freewheeling energy.  

This series of works responds to the wealth of material present in the Helen Storey Foundation Archive, reflecting on narratives uncovered concerning sustainability, absence/presence and enforced separation.