Amazingly, it is over a quarter of a century since Helen Flockhart-one of the most outstanding and original artists of her generation - has had a solo show in Edinburgh. Thanks to the enterprising Arusha Gallery this lamentable omission has been rectified with an exhibition that subtly plays off the New Town Gallery's faded elegant grandeur with Helen Flockhart's richly decorative and alluringly decadent paintings.
From the very beginning of her career, when she came out of Glasgow School of Art in the 1980's, Helen Flockhart has drawn her creative inspiration from a range of esoteric and mythical sources. This continues into the work for her latest exhibition where the central theme is the story of Ceres and Proserpine, which the Greeks used to explain the seasonal changes in Nature between bountiful summer and barren winter. Such a myth is ideal stimulus for the fertile imagination of the artist; allowing her to delve into a magical world of profound mystery and intense yearning, where beauty is forever stalked by corruption, through the metamorphic power of the natural cycle of things.
Only an artist with such a powerful poetic imagination, who has long perfected her painting technique, could do full justice to such a complex and enthralling saga in which each carefully selected and immaculate executed scene combines the all-absorbing moment with the inevitable destructive passage of time. With each painting we are drawn, and tempted, to enter Helen Flockhart's own vividly imaged world – but at our own peril. For such fascination may also reveal aspects of a deeper disturbing reality which we might prefer to remain hidden. But as Paul Klee stated 'The purpose of art is not to reflect the visible, but to make the invisible visible.'