Narrative and storytelling is a very strong part of Helen Ballardie's paintings and she takes elements of stories from the past and incorporates them into her paintings, bringing a new story to life. One of her biggest influences is painter Henry Darger (1892-1973), a reclusive artist who created and inhabited an imaginary world through extensive writings, paintings, and drawings. His private collection was shown at the American Folk Museum in New York in 2010. Like Darger, Helen collects writings, paintings and drawings and encompasses elements of these into her work. This body of work sees Helen working with a range of cultural floral motifs found in her collections of Victorian collages and Indian miniatures. Helen likes to take her subjects out of their context, to give them a flat background. She's not interested in full landscapes or interior scenes, but rather the interplay between abstraction and figuration, flattening the images into more of a map like configuration.
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