Archive: 2016

Artist’s talk for ACYPI Melbourne

17th December, 2016

Thank you to ACYPI Melbourne for inviting me to give a talk last night. It prompted some great questions and lots of conversations afterwards over Christmas cheese and wine.

Helen Couchman talk at ACYPI, Melbourne. 16 December 2016

Talk for ACYPI, Australian China Young Professionals Initiative, Melbourne

13th December, 2016

Join ACYPI for an Arts focused evening with two inspiring artists; Helen Couchman, visual artist and Mindy Meng Wang, musician and composer.

The evening will feature a Q and A session, a performance from Mindy Meng Wang on the Guzheng and a talk from both artists. They will discuss their work and inspirations and how the Arts scene in both Australia and China are developing, as well as how intercultural ideas are developed and communicated through works of art.

Friday 16th December, 2016
6pm-7.30pm

Pozible HQ
2/108-112 Langridge St,
Collingwood VIC 3066

Registration is necessarywww.acypi.org.au/en/2016/12/05/acypi-melbourne-arts-appreciation-in-collingwood

Helen Couchman
British artist Helen Couchman worked in Beijing for nearly seven years between 2006 and 2012. She will be talking about her experience of working in the country and the outcomes. Using various media, mostly drawing, photo, printing and installation Couchman has made work in various countries including USA, Cyprus, Armenia, Taiwan but nothing as prolonged as her time living in China. This talk is very timely as Helen is currently working on a retrospective exhibition of her China works for CFCCA, Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art in Manchester, England opening in January 2017.

Helen has published three books of photography; Omani Women, Mrs West’s Hats, Workers – Gong Ren.

www.helencouchman.com

WORKERS, Gong Ren at Le Musée Olympique, Lausanne, Switzerland

‘…they give off an incredible force, we can read the fragility in certain looks and pride as they are posing for you. They recall the harsh conditions in which these men and women have working but without falling into any voyeurism or pessimism. Personally, I find them absolutely magnificent and I am very touched at looking at them.’

Rachel Caloz, Chef de Section Expositions, The Olympic Museum, Lausanne.
Talk by Helen Couchman at ACYPI, Melbourne, 16 December 2016

Talk by Helen Couchman. ACYPI Melbourne website.

 

Flyer for ACYPI talk in Melbourne. 16 December 2016

Flyer for ACYPI arts talk

WORKERS 工人 portraits featured in exhibition at Le Musée Olympique, Lausanne

13th October, 2016

Stades opens tonight at Le Musée Olympique, Lausanne, Switzerland. Featuring at its centre portraits from the WORKERS 工人 Gong Ren series. Until 07/05/17.

Open: 14/10/2016 – 07/05/2017.
www.olympic.org/museum

WORLKERS portraits featured in the Stades exhibition at Le Musée Olympique, Switzerland

So far the feedback has been very positive,

‘…they give off an incredible force, we can read the fragility in certain looks and pride as they are posing for you. They recall the harsh conditions in which these men and women have working but without falling into any voyeurism or pessimism. Personally, I find them absolutely magnificent and I am very touched at looking at them.’

Chef de Section Expositions
Le Musée Olympique, Lausanne, Switzerland

Omani Women on exhibit at Athens Photo Festival

21st July, 2016

Omani Women on exhibit at Athens Photo Festival. The Photobook Exhibition at the Benaki Museum, the Hellenic Centre for Photography, Greece until 31/07/16. #APhF16

by Helen Couchman, Omani Women, exhibition, the Photobook, Athens, Greece, The Benikai Museum

Thanks to Jasmine for making it to see Omani Women at The Photobook Exhibition at The Benaki Museum, Athens

Thanks to Jasmine for making it to see ‘Omani Women’ at The Photobook Exhibition at The Benaki Museum, Athens

Talk at The Allen Gallery

24th May, 2016

7.30pm, Thursday, 26th May. An illustrated talk and book signing by Helen Couchman about her grandmother and her hats. Mrs. West’s Hats and an essay about the work are published in a hardback book by the same name.

Talk tickets, £5 obtainable at the gallery.

Mrs West’s Hats the exhibition runs between Thursday 2 – 30 June. Open Tuesday – Saturday from 10.30am – 4.30pm. Entry is free.

Allen Gallery
10-12 Church Street
Alton, Hampshire
01420 82802

www.HelenCouchman.com
www.SoloshowPublishing.com
www.HampshireCulturalTrust.org.uk

Talk , Mrs Wests Hats at the Allen Gallery by Helen Couchman

Mrs. West’s Hats exhibition

17th May, 2016

Press Release

Mrs West of Binsted was a resourceful lady. She was expected to accompany her husband to many important social events, including garden parties at Buckingham Palace. But cloth was rationed, so instead of a new outfit she wore a different hat for each occasion.   Some she bought and others she made herself so that each time it looked as though she was wearing a new outfit.

After Mrs West’s death, her granddaughter Helen Couchman, who had by now qualified with a BA in Fine Art and an MA in Critical Fine Art Practice, collected together the hats – there were over 60 of them – and photographed herself in the style of the time wearing them and also her grandmother’s original make-up. She then turned the resulting photographs into an artwork which she named ‘Mrs West’s Hats’.

And now ‘Mrs West’s Hats’ is to be exhibited in Alton’s Allen Gallery in June. The exhibition is preceded on May 26th by an illustrated talk by Helen Couchman herself about her grandmother, her hats and what they reveal about life and fashion in the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Helen says: ‘My grandmother was a most influential person in my childhood. In my eyes, she was creative, sharply intelligent and ceaselessly loyal towards me. She was most interested in the future – my future. When I tried on her hats I clearly remembered her. Each hat reminded me of a different aspect of my feelings towards her.’

Helen has exhibited ‘Mrs West’s Hats’ in galleries all over the world, but she is particularly pleased that her work is to be shown in Alton, so close to her grandmother’s old home. Indeed, Helen herself lived in Binsted for three years and attended Binsted Primary School, so the occasion will bring back even more memories to her. She commented: ‘It will be great to show my project in the area where my grandmother lived. It means a lot to me.’

The exhibition ‘Mrs West’s Hats’ runs at the Allen Gallery, 10-12 Church Street, Alton between Thursday 2nd and Thursday 30th June. The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. and entry is free. The talk ‘Mrs West’s Hats, the life and times of my Binsted grandmother’ takes place at the Allen Gallery at 7.30 p.m. on Thursday 26th May. Tickets, obtainable at the gallery or on 01420 82802, cost £5 to include light refreshments. Both events also feature on the website of Hampshire Cultural Trust, www.hampshireculturaltrust.org.uk, while further information about Helen Couchman’s work can be found on www.helencouchman.com. ‘Mrs. West’s Hats’ and an essay about the work are published in a hardback book costing £12, ISBN 9780956017208, available in the Allen Gallery shop and online at www.SoloshowPublishing.com

Omani Women – Islington Gazette article

8th March, 2016

Artist shows true colours of Oman

Portraits aim to overturn misconceptions

A Highbury artist is attempting to shed light on a little-known corner of the world with her unique portraits of Omani Women. Helen Couchman said the idea came to her after travelling to Oman for work four years ago. “I wanted to understand more about what we mean when we refer to the Middle East,” she said. “Its just so general and vague.”

It was while she was on assignment in the desert that she was first inspired; ” I was at the edge of what is known as The Empty Quarter when I met three women who appeared over the dunes in the middle of nowhere. The women – including a mother and her three daughters – took a shine to her and invited her to their farm. “I was struck by how brightly and confidently dresses the four women were,” Ms Couchman told the Gazette. “I began thinking about my expectations of them being more conservatively dressed.”

When she returned to the UK she searched through archives of Omani Women but found only portraits that were anthropological or of eroticised Persian beauty. Inspired by her own experiences she returned to the country to start her own project. Of course convincing strangers to pose for photos wasn’t easy. “I realised it might be quite a difficult question for people to consider so I approached people in the street rather than at their homes which I don’t think would have been very polite,” Ms Couchman said. Most families had at least on member who spoke English or else would invite a friend over who could. “I would ask them three questions,” she said. “Would they like to be in the portrait? What would they like to wear? And how would they like to present themselves?”

The result is a series of  image published in her new book Omani Women. She will be giving a talk and signing at Waterstones at Islington Green on 9th March at 6pm. 

by Sophie Inge, 3 March 2016

IGZ.2016-03-03.MAIN.ING.003.COL.pdf

Online, 8 March 2016:

Omani Women - 8th March 2016. Islington Gazette website home page

Islington Gazette online article - 8 March 2016