Archive: November, 2009

New photographic work on exhibit

20th November, 2009

Three photographic prints selected from the series Untitled (Collecting and Dropping) are on exhibit at Transition Gallery in London through November. For more about this series see the Portfolio page here.

Untitled (Collecting and Dropping) No.52

Untitled (Collecting and Dropping) No.179

Untitled (Collecting and Dropping) No.228

All from the series Untitled (Collecting and Dropping)No.s 1 – 245. 2007-2009
Printed on Hannamule paper, 56 x 42.5 inches framed.

Mrs. West’s Hats recommended – Beijing Today

18th November, 2009

Vivian Wang from the Bookworm recommends the following bestsellers to Beijing Today readers.

Yu Li: Confessions of an Elevator Operator. By Jimmy Qi
Mrs. West’s Hats
. By Helen Couchman, introduction by Anthony Gorman
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation
. By Michael Keller, illustrated by Nicolle Rager Fuller

He Jianwei

Mrs. West’s Hats review – The Hat magazine

12th November, 2009
Mrs. West's Hats by Helen Couchman. The Hat Magazine, Issue.43. page 42

Click to enlarge

in print

Mrs West’s Hats
by Helen Couchman with an introduction by Anthony Gorman

Mrs. West’s Hats is the first publication in book form of a series of sixty photographic self-portraits produced by the artist Helen Couchman in 1997. The title of the piece refers to Couchman’s maternal grandmother, Mrs West (1909-1993). In the photographs Couchman, made up to look like a young woman of the austere 1940’s or ’50s, is seen wearing a succession of her grandmother’s hats, as though acting out the “role” of her own grandmother as she would have looked during that period.

Carole Denford
The Hat Magazine No. 43. November 2009, page 42

Mrs. West’s Hats review – Country Life, ‘Hats off to new book’

6th November, 2009

Country life for web
in print

Hats off to new book

A young British artist this week unveiled a striking and stylish hardback book that features 60 self-portraits in which she wears a succession of her late grandmother’s vintage hats. Helen Couchman, who grew up in rural Wales andHampshire, re discovered the collection, from the 1940s and 50s, in a chest of drawers after the death of her much-loved grandmother, with whom she spent part of her childhood. To explore inheritance, heritage and memory, Couchman resolved to photograph herself wearing every hat she found, and the result is Mrs West’s Hats.

Despite the austerity of the post-war era, the hats are lively and full of character – demonstrating perhaps that imaginative milliners could give women a means to express themselves despite fabric rationing. Dr Anthony Gorman writes in his foreword: “As the example of Mrs West’s headgear shows, hats are as diverse and expressive as faces.”

Miss Couchman’s favourite is a close-fitting bright blue creation decorated with little imitation flowers. “It’s extraordinary, and you can see in the photo that my expression is a bit puzzled,” she says. “Another interesting one is in straw, designed in keeping with Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ collection of 1947.”

Couchman exhibited the photographs in London and Armenia before publishing them in book form. The work follows another photographic project, Workers, a series of portraits of Chinese migrant workers who were building the infrastructure for last year’s Olympic Games.

Yolanda Carslaw

There and Everywhere – private view

4th November, 2009

There and Everywhere - exhibition invite, Helen Couchman, David Webb, Liz Harrison at Transition Gallery

There and Everywhere

Helen Couchman     Liz Harrison     David Webb
5th November 6-9pm


Like the numerous luggage labels from different locations pasted onto battered suitcases, artists’ journeys now take centre stage on the cultural landscape. In his manifesto of altermodernity Nicolas Bourriaud proclaims that in our era of globalisation, artists have become nomads ‘wandering in time, space and mediums’. And that their work now ‘arises out of negotiations between different agents from different cultures and geographical locations.’

The impetus for There and Everywhere began with painter David Webb’s focus on his grandmother’s journey made by sea in 1955 from Tanzania to London. This personal history, and his experiences of residencies overseas have led to his making work about travel and ancestry, which he interestingly describes as ‘a turn inwards’.

Reflecting on these themes Webb selected Helen Couchman and Liz Harrison to show alongside him in There and Everywhere. Each artist brings a distinct perspective to the project revealing surprising and unexpected connections between their painting, photography and video installation, so that the general somehow becomes the specific.


Liz Harrison’s practice spans a broad range of media, incorporating site-specific installation, lens-based projection, illusion and image. She is based in London and recently co-curated Concrete Dreams at APT, London (2008) and had a solo exhibition Perch at Five Years, London (2009).

Helen Couchman is a British artist currently based in Beijing. Her most recent solo show was at Gallerie Perif in Beijing where she showed a series of woodblock prints. In 2008 her photo portraits of migrant workers building the Beijing Olympic buildings were published in a book, Workers (gong ren).

David Webb is a painter based in London. His most recent solo exhibition was at SE 1 Gallery in London where he showed work made during a residency at Yaddo, in upstate New York. He showed at Transition Gallery in The Painting Room (2008) and was selected for Jerwood Contemporary Painters in 2009.

There and Everywhere - exhibition invite, Helen Couchman, David Webb, Liz Harrison at Transition Gallery text
Transition Gallery Unit 25a Regent Studios, 8 Andrews Road, London E8 4QN


Update: 09/11/09 … Standing out for me are Couchman’s photographs so delicate and yet powerful. Corinna Spencer

Transition Gallery photo by Damian Griffiths

Mrs. West’s Hats – London book launch

2nd November, 2009

Dr Carol Tulloch in conversation with Helen Couchman
Book launch and book signing
6.30pm, 3rd November 2009
Phoenix Artist Club, 1 Phoenix Street, Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0DT

Update: 04/10/09
Many thanks to Carol, Mauice and to everyone at the London launch for your interesting questions and good wishes.

Soloshow Publishing