Aly Helyer's work interrogates representations of the self. Her oil and gouache paintings excavate the performance of character, the ruptures, tension and violence at stake in our image and the apparent conflict of our desire for a singular depiction of identity.
Sickly sweet psychedelic cartoon colours undermine Helyer's subjects. Arseholes, balls and cocks, floating tits and gurning, grimacing Beckett-esque isolated teethy mouths fight for the right to exist within the frame. Source material ranges from fashion magazines and Melville's Moby Dick to Pontormo's paintings.
Duality, and the impossibility of a unified self is at stake in the paintings, as her portraits push at the edges of the frame and dissolve into surfaces. The slippage between subject, background and foreground creates a dark and absurd tension that simultaneously seduces and repels.