“Dundee based Helen Glassford is one of the young rising-stars of the Scottish art world. Landscapes are hard to paint; for they are too vast and too changeable to capture in a single composition of hill, sky and river. But Glassford gets under the surface of it and captures the deeper more abstract qualities of a place. Her work is just as much about paint and energy that lets her do this as it is about the landscape.” Tony Davidson
Helen Glassford is the co-founder of Fife based TATHA Gallery. Helen was born in Lancaster in 1976 and grew up in the foothills of the Lake District. She came to Dundee to study a Fine Art Painting degree at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 1995 alongside such contemporaries as Paul Reid, Delia Baille and Robert MacMillan. She was heavily influenced by the artistic and critical virtues of her tutors, some of the major Scottish/Dundee figures, such as Derrick Guild, Ronnie Forbes, Alan Robb, Will Maclean and Arthur Watson. During this time, like most artists she experimented further with the boundaries of her technique influenced to some extent by visiting artists including Barbara Rae and Victoria Morton. She later went on to further her research in Fine Art by completing a Masters Degree in 2001.
Presently her work is conceived during her many trips into the Scottish environment. As a climber and walker she understands only too well the interplay between mountain-side and cloud, she instinctively knows that with changing weather the beauty of a landscape can be altered to become more intense, more challenging. She portrays the beauty of that uncertain moment, the loss of visual acuity replaced by the gently flowing comfort of the subconscious familiar. Her work is not about striking impacts but much more about deep-rooted confidence. She refutes the term landscape to describe her work because her pieces are much more related to the experience that the landscape evokes rather than the scene itself. Recently she has developed a greater interest in our less dramatic landscapes, these paintings reach out with a sense of the familiarity. Here she continues to paint on the margins of visual observation and emotional experience.
Coming from a family of artists and art collectors she is drawn back to art repeatedly even in the midst of her own studies she seeks the solace of her peers work. Her studio is as much library as a space for her easel. Reference books of artists are thumbed and devoured intermittently like some ever-hungry herbivore. Her areas of interest come naturally to her as if she knows instinctively the work in front of her. She seeks quality in her selections and it is this that acts as her guiding principle. Able to appreciate many different genres of work she has the uncanny ability of being able to free the paint from any canvas and immerse her companions in the work.
Her long -term interest in the variety of art leaves her with a wealth of understanding about a diverse number of artists from the relatively unknown to the masters. Her love for art is infectious when she leads you into any canvas.