08 September 2011 - 08 October 2011

Helga Groves, Looking through an ocean of air


Sutton Gallery is pleased to present Looking through an ocean of air, an exhibition of new work by Helga Groves following her 2010 residency in Finland (her ancestral home), travel to Iceland and Russia. Indicative of Groves' ongoing fascination with the natural environment, this body of work explores the geophysics of the Arctic regions.

Her series of paintings, Looking through an ocean of air, brings together diverse references, from a ceiling in the Hermitage Museum, to Sami mythology and the geometric explorations of the conceptual artist Sol LeWitt. Through the juxtaposition of concentric constellations, these delicate paintings provide a contemplative look at our infinitely vast and expansive universe.

Groves' observations of the infinite is also dramatically captured in her Stratosphere paintings. These intriguing images are sourced from photographs taken from her flight on route from St Petersburg to Helsinki. A limited palette of deep dark blues through to crisp whites are at times interrupted by a warm glow, evoking the gentle radiance of nocturnal light as seen in the northern latitudes.

To observe the northern hemisphere from a contrasting vantage point, Turning sky into stone, a photographic sculptural installation, focuses on arctic lichen. Constructions enclosed beneath perspex domes, this scientific presentation, are like specimens on illuminated petri dishes, allude to rarified micro environments unique to the northern region.

Throughout this new body of work there is a consideration of the transformation of natural forms in relation to atmosphere and time. Mutable (Arctic waters), features photographs of wild rivers, lakes and seas, printed onto translucent acetate encased within transparent cylinders. Positioned upright in a long row, this work encapsulates waters flux and endless permutations. Transformation is acutely observed in Groves' Surface of the earth, a series of drawings and animation of Icelandic lava rocks. These highly textured rocks are analysed from every possible angle, rotated to expose each gnarled and dimpled surface; they are a tangible connection to the earth's internal structure and the volatility of the specific geological environment.

Artist's profile

View artist profile: Helga Groves


Helga Groves _ Essay by Doug Hall_2011

Artwork from exhibition by Helga Groves,

Looking through an ocean of air

Installation Looking through an ocean of air