DAYS OF THE DEAD
A prominent local artist with the initials RW once said that, “Helen Shelley paints like an angel”. This is probably just as well since its GOD she is taking on! Helen taunts the Omnipotence again in her latest exhibition Immortality Without the Assistance of God; a title that doesn’t beat around the bush. Much of her recent work has dealt with death and the numerous ways in which humans deal with it, avoid it, confront it, facilitate and imagine it. Importantly she is mindful of the fairly universal life insurance that re-assures the living that death is somehow not the end but the beginning of something else – be it reincarnation, zombie-fication or paradise in/on the bosom of the lord. As a painter she is most interested in “images of death” and as a result Helen’s works have a strange dissociated familiarity for audiences. The current show, cleverly painted on both sides of specially cut perspex, is nothing short of amazing and individual pieces often have a shallow three dimensional feel. The overall tone might be melancholy but Helen generates an atmosphere of transcendence through views of death that show no fear, and no favor. At CCAS Manuka until 20 September.