Magical Particle (2015)

mixed media on Perspex

110cm x 200cm


Helen Shelley’s practice is inspired by a transcendent image that occurred the night of her father’s death. The vision of light particles emanating from her father’s body which were then subsumed by her own gave sense that despite her father’s physical demise, he continued to exist in a different form and was thus rendered immortal. Shelley's work is concerned with the way rituals symbolically immortalize late loved ones and thus ensure our relationship with the dead is vibrant and ongoing. Significantly, these tangible expressions of personal grief bring the oft-avoided topics of death and grief to the fore. Rather than being viewed bleak in nature, Shelley hopes art that deals with death and grief provide a sense of life as a continuum and opportunities for human connection.

Helen Shelley

  • Helen Shelley lives and works in Sydney. Shelley graduated from the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University with first class honours. In 2015 she graduated from Sydney College of the Arts with a Masters Degree (Research) in Painting. She has held solo exhibitions at Galerie Pompom, Grant Pirrie, Flinders Street Gallery, Canberra Contemporary Art Space and has been included in exhibitions at First Draft Gallery, Casula Powerhouse, Rubicon Ari and James Makin Gallery. Shelley has been a finalist in the Churchie and most recently the Blake Prize. Her practice is concerned with developing personal rituals that bring to mind and honour late loved ones, along with capturing moments of the sublime and transcendental as observed in the everyday.

  • Instagram: @helen_shelley