Helen McIntosh is an artist who lives and works in the Brisbane area of Queensland, Australia.
Helen has mainly worked, studied and taught in the fibre arts media for over 30 years, during which time she has gained and shared skills with many other artists and contemporaries through workshops and conferences.
Helen’s work has been utilised in the media and she has also shown her work in both solo and group exhibitions and collections.
Education and Artist Training
1989: Deakin University, Victoria, Australia.
1970 – 2013: Mantle of Textile Arts Australia
I have participated in several tutorials associated with Fibre Forums, Tafe Colleges and privately organised art lessons. Tutors have included David Green, Liz Janied, Sybil Orr, Polly Hope, Cathy Moon and others.
Grants and Awards
1987 – Professional Development Award
Presented by the Australian Council’s Craft Board
Online at theiconlady.com. Originally scheduled for Richard Randall Gallery, Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens, Brisbane.
March 2020: “Reimagining Domestic art in Australia”
Morningside Picture Framers Gallery, Brisbane
Ugees cafe, Boundary Street, West End, Brisbane
Fireworks Gallery, Newstead Brisbane
December 2017: “Lotus Leaves”
Holloway Gallery, Moffat Beach QLD
August 2017: “Iconic II”
Butter Factory Arts Centre, Cooroy
Gallery 159, 159 Payne Road, The Gap (Brisbane). Solo exhibition.
April 2012 – May 2012: “An Afternoon Soirée”
68 Heal Street, New Farm (Brisbane). Solo exhibition.
October 2010 – November 2010: “Opus Decoratus 1-12”
Eib Art Gallery, 92B Tingal Road Wynnum (Brisbane). Solo Exhibition
1989: Tamworth National Fibre Exhibition
1984: Tamworth National Fibre Exhibition
From Weird and Wonderful: 12 Exhibited, 4 sold.
From show Synonyms of Beauty: 11 Exhibited, 1 sold, 10 pending.
From show Lotus Leaves: 10 Exhibited, 2 sold.
From solo show Iconic II: 28 Exhibited.
From solo show Iconic: 15 Exhibited, 7 sold.
From solo show An Afternoon Soirée: 24 pictures exhibited, sold 10, all to private collectors.
From solo show Opus Decoratus: 12 pictures exhibited, sold 5, all to private collectors.
From 1984 Tamworth Fibre Exhibition my piece “It’s About Death” was recommended for purchase for the Gallery’s collection.
Media Mentions & Publications
I’m very grateful for the media mentions I receive, and I appreciate lovely people write about my art, interview me and post information about upcoming Exhibitions and Events.
2017 – August: Noosa Tourism
2017 – June: Press Release
2017 – May: Down Under Textiles Issue 28
6 pages for Partners in Textiles exhibition.
2016 – May: Wynnum Herald
3/4 page article with photo.
2016 – April: Down Under Textiles Issue 23
4 page spread with photos.
2010 – October: Quest Newspaper
Photo and article for solo show Opus Decoratus.
1988 – Textile Fibre Forum Magazine.
1988 – Feb/April Edition, Craft Arts Australia.
My art career has included teaching for Evening Colleges, Textile Fibre Forums, Art and Craft Collectives and Art related Businesses. I have been a working artist for 40 years, learning and absorbing along the path. The “Icon Lady” has become a beacon for me and I look forward to she leads me next.
I’m Helen McIntosh, The Icon Lady
I am a multimedia artist living in the Brisbane area of Australia. For over thirty years I’ve been entranced by the magical way artworks appear whenever I spend time to create them in my Art Studio, whether it’s a new Icon Lady being created, a richly-beaded art installation, a painting, a textile tribute, quirky tea cosy or a series of birds or other objects made from crazy ceramics to go on a wall. Each one is unique and many have found their way into homes and hearts around the world.
Who is The Icon Lady?
The Icon Lady shape began in the 1970s. I was looking for a clean edge for Textile and silk screen work. Now this shape acts like blank page for me, it’s the jumping in point, no more staring at empty space.
The Icon Lady has taken on meanings and symbolism I couldn’t imagine back then. The shape is old as man himself, or herself. When I present paintings with the Icon Lady she is recognised as female, the Mother figure. There are historical and Religious layers to her too. The viewer always attributes their own experience and knowledge to the pictures, in spite of what I may have been trying to say.
An interesting fact, people who have bought my Icon Ladys have a special relationship with her and ALWAYS change the artworks name. She represents something deep and intrinsic in the purchasers psyche. I happily pass her on to start a new life.
Of course, over time, the pictures are self portraits representing various stages, trends, and fashions in my life. We have travelled far, The Icon Lady and me. I haven’t finished the journey yet, there is a lot still to explore.
Click below to download a copy of my CV
I was born in Sydney and grew up in Walgett, NSW, outback. I always had paints and brushes, paper was hard to find sometimes and this is why I paint on anything to hand now. I attended High School in Newcastle. You can see on the CV the training I have had, including Deakin and painting lessons at Brisbane Botanical Gardens.
My years of raising small children were spent in Tamworth, where the influences were Country Music and Fibre Arts. I consider myself a Queenslander now, the strong light is familiar from childhood in the bush. My sense of space, light, little shadow, juxtaposition is informed by the open landscape of far western NSW. I work in isolation, always seeking beauty in truth. I paint to satisfy the compulsion to create, I follow my own rules and if people like the end result I’m happy, and always a little surprised.
Here are personal details… divorced, two successful children, four grandchildren that I love dearly. I grew up with three brothers, there was shooting, riding, sheep and shearing. Always books. Couldn’t get away quick away enough, I’m still interested in what’s new, what’s available, what’s possible. As with a lot of country girls my age, I had little education and no training, so I ended up in Retail to earn a living. (I was brought up to understand I wouldn’t need to make my own living, one married for that) the last ten years of working life were spent managing Op Shops for Vinnies, working with Volunteers and for the Catholic Church. There is a book in that. My time is now, it’s just beginning. I have never felt the need to paint the landscape as the big view, the panorama. Always, for me, the close up and intricate has the real information about place and time.