Helen Britton : Industrial II: Gallery S O London

4 May - 30 June 2012

A tiny girl stands in an enormous factory. They are casting steel: steel for ships, steel for the mines. Nearby the ships will be built; that she knows. The steel pours, the men like ants in scale, the heat, the stench, the noise, it leaves a strong impression.


Later on, she would often come back to that part of town, not only for the steel and the ships, but also for the gritty screaming post-punk bands in the workers clubs, whose sounds would form the basis of the musical accompaniment of her life till this day.


Now, almost 40 years later: a post-industrial city in Europe. No steelworks, no bright clear beaches (where the massive ships sometimes end broken in the winter storms).


Where do these tracks now lead and what do they allow?


Steel bridges, steel lines in the snow, construction site grey dust, an assemblage of materials that will be ordered and built back into the cold, greasy grey. 


Stretch all those years of looking, that line of experience back again to the steelworks. Pour that music in through the ears and out through the hands. Cut that line deep in the shapes, organize the elements, tie them down and connect them all together again.


There you have it: an explanation.


                 Helen Britton 




Inspired by the rich aesthetic of industrial architecture, Helen Britton presents Industrial 2, a sequence of works that express her curiosity for raw, dynamic environments for machines and manufacture. Constructing layered surfaces of etched metal, sometimes painted like rusting iron ore or gleaming with plated rose gold or stones, the works transform Britton's memories of large industrial spaces into wearable pieces of jewellery - at once contemporary and classic.


Rebecca Roke