Helen Knowles (born London, 1975) is an artist and curator.
Her practice unpicks the threads of cultural attitudes to birth and looks to unravel the trouble that audiences have with certain kinds of images. Plundered from Youtube birth videos, she is currently working with screen-grab close-ups of women’s faces exhaling and reclining at the moment the baby crowns, as well as wider views of this moment revealing the women’s euphoria in their domestic spaces. Helen has just developed a way of working with a digital projector to make large-scale screen prints which contextualise the Youtube source by exploiting the pixel landscape. She has a studio at Hot Bed Press in Salford where she is concentrating on exploring the use of screen print. Past works include wallpaper, artist books, and installation.
Recent shows include ‘Digital Romantics’, Aubin Gallery, Dean Clough Gallery (2012) ‘Walls are Talking Whitworth Art Gallery (2010) and ‘After London’ (2010) Sassoon Gallery, Peckham. Her work is in The Whitworth Art Gallery Collection, Tate Library and Archive Collection, Birth Rites Collection and Gallery Oldham Collection.
In 2009 Helen founded the Birth Rites Collection which she curates. The Birth Rites Collection is the first and only collection of contemporary artwork dedicated to the subject of childbirth. The collection currently comprises of photography, sculpture, painting, wallpaper, prints, drawing, new media, documentary and experimental film. It is housed between the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians in London and Salford University Midwifery Department. Artists in the collection include Judy Chicago and Hermione Wiltshire. In 2011, BRC presented Birth Rites Symposia at the Whitechapel Art Gallery and Whitworth Art Gallery.
Helen has received national and international coverage of her work in the Guardian, The Scotsman, The Times, a-n Magazine, Vogue and Manchester Metro News as well as delivering many radio interviews including Resonance Fm show ‘Enemies of Good Art’. A recipient of grants and awards from organisations which include; Arts Council England, Awards for All, The Network for Social Change, Beacon, Millennium UnLtd, The Royal College of Midwives, The North West Arts Board. Most recently she has been a recipient of the Arts Council England, grants for an individual, for the Youtube Portraits project. The Amateurs Trust and The Eaton Fund for Artists and Gentlewomen have also supported this project.