Helen Snell




Combining the mass produced and the unique can be humorous and ironical, full of suggestion and contradiction.

I am interested in the processes of reproduction (printmaking, digital media, collage, photocopies) and also in the theme of reproduction, specifically with reference to biotechnology, genetics, sex and consumerism. My work is also informed by the ethical debates surrounding biotechnology, and the relationship between image and paper engineering.

Printed images and multiples enable a process of vulgarisation, undermine the obsession with originality, so that content becomes the primary concern. The repetition of the same imagery echoes our obsession with labels and brands as assurances of quality and also, paradoxically, echoes our fears provoked by images of cloning and other genetic interventions.

Traditionally a printmaker is to be congratulated on his or her skill in producing a perfect edition, but I have always found this to be a very mechanical approach and am much more interested in subverting the idea, in the imperfect edition.  

My starting point often comes from commercial packaging which I customise. Individual structures can become units in a giant construction set, with the potential for endless configurations and reworkings according to context. Installations often begin as small units, subject to systematic modifications, which colonise the space.


1995MA Fine Art Printmaking, Camberwell College of Arts
1995Illustration, Royal College of Art
1986BA (Hons) Fine Art and French, Exeter University and Exeter College of Art & Design, Exeter
1985Ecole Nationale des Beaux-Arts de Dijon

Exhibition History

2008A Strange Harvest, installation & 3D print works, Edinburgh Printmakers
2008Set and costume designs for The Winter's Tale, Dartington Hall
2007The Animals Went in Two by Two, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe
2006The Animals went in Two by Two, Fold Gallery
2002I don't want to go to school. Installation and residency, Phoenix Gallery, Exeter
1997The Same but Different; 3D printed constructions, London Print Workshop