Helen SHIRK, Violet hood: Commemorative cup XVIII Enlarge 1 /1

On display on Level 1

Helen SHIRK

Buffalo, New York, United States of America born 1942

Violet hood: Commemorative cup XVIII 2005
Collection Title: Commemorative cup series
Place made: San Diego, California, United States of America
Materials & Technique: metalwork, vases, copper, patina, coloured pencil

Dimensions: 47.0 h x 51.0 w x 28.0 d cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2005
Accession No: NGA 2005.1188
Image rights: Photographed by Helen Shirk © Helen Shirk

The forms of Helen Shirk’s bold metal objects come from studying the natural world. She continually records landscapes and plant life encountered during travels to Europe and Australia, combining them with observations of her local setting in Southern California. Her response to these observations of growth, blossoming and renewal becomes the springboard for dynamic vessels. The consummate craftsmanship of a highly skilled silversmith underlies Shirk’s agility with hammered copper and colour pencils. She studied gold and silversmithing in the United States and Scandinavia, and then refined her work through decades of experimentation and practice. Violet hood: commemorative cup XVIII draws on historical precedents that delight the eye with wondrous memorial objects. This exuberant vessel celebrates an undisclosed occasion, as exotic flowers spring up to voluptuously reveal the luxuriant colours of their inner layers.  EKB


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra

Helen Shirk’s metal objects come from studying and recording landscapes and plant life encountered during travels to Europe and Australia, combining them with observations of flora in her local Southern California environment. Her response to these observations of growth, blossoming and renewal became the springboard for this dynamic vessel in hammered copper and colour pencil, suggesting exotic flowers springing up to reveal the luxuriant colours of their inner layers.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2016
Author: Dr Robert Bell AM - Senior Curator Decorative Arts and Design