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Helen Fay

Artist Biography

For many years my work has been about the beauty, dignity and character of animals . The poise and movement of animals, their behaviour and nature is an area I find endlessly fascinating. I like to think of them observing the world as I am observing them and then try to deduce what it is that they rely on to navigate their way through life.

​Whether it is the curiosity of a primate or the heightened senses of a hound, each and every creature has unique adaptations and behaviours, skills and strengths and these are what I try to convey in my work.

At the moment I am focussing on how animals are intertwined with our domestic and family life. I want to capture moments such as a dog flopped on a chair after a long walk or watching the world whilst their owner stops for a coffee or a lazy old cat sunning itself, content in it's old age. More intimate and everyday than dramatic subjects. I hope to capture these small moments that surround us when we have animals in our life.

I still strive to pare my images down to a balanced simplicity that directs attention to the subject in my pictures. Light is hugely important to the way I draw and recently, as I have started including backgrounds in my work it has become more of a consideration. My aim is to recreate a minute that could be in any time but feels recognisable and familiar.

My influences include Japanese and Chinese prints and drawings and the 19th and 20th Century European artists who were influenced by them too. I love the landscape paintings of Mondrian and Schiele and the work of Bonnard. I am interested in early photography and film both amateur and professional and have recently discovered and been amazed by the work of Yasujiro Ozu. The films and polaroids of Tarkovsky are influences too. I have long been interested in the work of 20th Century war artists such as Nash and Ravillious, the clarity of their work is hugely impressive. Lastly, I would mention two great influences in natural history illustration, Thomas Bewick and Charles Tunnicliffe. Both these men, in their work and curiosity about the natural world have been a lifelong inspiration. ​

Selected Exhibitions 

Higher Education
1990-1992   Royal College of Art, London. M.A. ( R.C.A) Natural History Illustration.
1987-1990 Sunderland University. B.A. Hons. Fine Art Printmaking.
1986-1987   Newcastle College of Art and Design. Foundation studies in Art and Design

Recent Shows
2017         Featured artist show at Glasgow Print Studio.
2016         Exhibition at Fotheringham Gallery.Bridge of Allan
2016         Group show at Fisherton Mill
2016         Group show ar Moy McKay Gallery, Peebles.
2016         Mixed show at Framed Gallery, Perth.
2015         Selected from the Royal Academy exhibition, Zillah Bell Gallery, Thirsk.
2014         Joint exhibition at Robinson Gay Gallery, Hexham.
2013         Group Show at Baxters Gallery, Devon.
2013         Group show at Flat Cat Gallery, Lauder.
2012        Artist of the month, Glasgow Print Studio
2009         Solo show Original Print Gallery, Dublin
2009         Group show, Flat Cat Gallery, Lauder
2009         Glasgow Print Studio, Gallery III
2008         Four Corners Exhibition, London.
2008         Group show, McGill Duncan Gallery, Castle Douglas

2006         House for an Art Lover, Glasgow. Dog Exhibition
2006         Hughson Gallery, Glasgow. Recent Work.
2006         House for an Art Lover, Glasgow. Penguin Exhibition
2006         Glasgow Print Studio, Penguin Exhibition.

Published Work, Awards and Collections
2013         Work produced for Glasgow Print Studio 40th Anniversary portfolio project
2010         Work featured in Telegraph website art review of R.A. Summer Show
2009         Work shown in Space section of Guardian Weekend Magazine
2008         Work shown in Homes and Interiors Scotland
2008         Work in Red magazine lifestyle feature
2007         Work purchased for executive floor of Raddisson Hotel, Dublin
2006         Work featured on BBC feature on Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Work in New Hall Collection, Cambridge.
Work featured in Lifestyle section of the Sunday Times Newspaper.
Cupola Gallery Fifth Anniversary Exhibition, First Prize.