helen mirra

2 March 2003 - 19 April 2003
Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present the first solo exhibition in London of new works by Chicago-based artist Helen Mirra.

Helen Mirra's varied practice includes sculpture, film, video, language and sound. The artist's minimalist works often refer to the earth, sea and sky through the consistent use of a green, blue and brown palette. Throughout her practice, an interest in the relationship between the natural world and the people who inhabit it motivate works that are elegant and poignant. A further interest in both cinema history and film structure manifests most explicitly in an ongoing group of works made of lengths of 16mm cloth, which Mirra thinks of as "silent silent films".

In the front gallery, the floor sculpture Sky-wreck is constructed of large triangles cut from a coarse indigo cloth. Fragments of a flattened polyhedral form, Sky-wreck materializes an idea of the sky as firmament, literally mapping a section. A distopic Paul Celan poem and the utopian experiments of Buckminster Fuller are reference points in this sculpture.

In the back gallery, Mirra will present Arrow, a sound and video work in which images of the violent Babylonian tomboy "The Mountain Girl" (Constance Talmadge) from D.W. Griffith's epic Intolerance (1916), appear briefly out of complete darkness. The work is made with the structure and timing of a thunderstorm: the flashes of image have the irregular lengths of lightning and guitar and bass parallel rain and thunder. The work can be seen as a meditation on both natural and human manifestations of violence.

Helen Mirra has exhibited in the United States and Europe. Recent solo shows in 2002 have been held at The Renaissance Society, Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Group shows in 2003 include Paper Sculpture at the Sculpture Center, New York, USA; Land, Land!, at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland and in 2002, Art Projects, curated by James Rondeau, Art Basel, Miami, USA; Here and Now, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago; Sudden Glory, CCAC Institute, San Francisco, USA; and in 2001, Tirana Biennial, Albania.