The entire OUTBREAK Games

The OUTBREAK Games is a collection of 12 ceramic sculptures inspired by the strange beauty of microscopic viruses, but interpreted as a series of games. The brightly coloured Pop Art pieces look as delicate as coral, but at the same time as dangerous as sea mines playing with our conflicting responses simultaneously delighting in their prickly beauty whilst fearing the threat they represent.

HIV, TB, Influenza, Avian Flu,, DNA replicants & blood cells

The OUTBREAK Chess set

Bacterial spore Jacks

Bar Billiards with Chicken Pox, Hepatitis, Measles, Herpes, Rubella, Yellow Fever, Mumps HIV & Encephalitis

Whilst these sculptures were created in response to recent pandemics such as Ebola & Avian Flu, the subject is approached playfully with some of the works being based on Noughts & Crosses, Bar Billiards, Jacks and Chess. We are asked to consider whether these are merely games of chance or might we be gambling our lives away? This artwork has been exhibited at the Bath Fringe Arts Festival 2016, Warrington Arts Festival 2016 and at the STEAM gallery, Wigan in 2017.

The OUTBREAK Games – the pictures

The series contains framed pictures of viruses, some imagined, others real.

Helen Birnbaum OUTBREAK 10 Porcelain virus pictures

Three pictures made from porcelain with gold decoration. These viruses are all imagined.

 

Helen Birnbaum OUTBREAK 9 Stoneware virus pictures

A set of 3 pictures representing Hepatitis C, Herpes Simplex & Western Equine Encephalitis

Helen Birnbaum OUTBREAK Chicken pox & herpes picture

It’s All Black & White. Chicken pox and Herpes Simplex framed

Anticipation

The chilly blue feet belie the affection with which they were made. One foot holds firmly onto the surface and the other moves up in anticipation of what is ahead.  In the version shown below the anticipatory feet have the advantage of being plugged in to a source of power.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of my own feet glazed in cheerful yellow to suggest a sunny outlook, with a contrasting blue thought bubble (this is meant to suggest bubbling ideas, but sometimes blue?)

My foot

Blood cells on the move

viral-chess-set-mostyn-5

Black  and white baubles sit on the ripped game board surrounded by small red humanoid figures. These  bright, red blood cells soldier across the board together in a pack looking out for any viruses that may come their way. Look out, they’re watching you.  Pop Art shapes and colours provide a deceptively cheerful vision of Bio warfare.

The artist, Helen Birnbaum, present a startling vision of our modern battle with viruses that may be organic or computer generated. Each cartoon-like piece represents a different virus. The pieces can be as delicate as coral or as startling as sea mines. As an Outbreak player you can control this world – but maybe not?

Exhibitions etc.

2017  

  • Solo exhibition OUTBREAK at STEAM, Wigan
  • Gender fluidity at FaB Bath Arts Festival of emerging makers
  •  Northern Potters’ Exhibition, University of Central Lancashire, Preston

2016

  • Royal Cambrian Open Art competition, Conwy
  • Warrington Contemporary Open
  • West Lancashire Open Art competition, Chapel Gallery
  • Black and White, Arthouse Southport Community
  • Artist of the month, Arthouse SCA
  • Microscopic ceramics at Southport Arts Festival
  • Phil Redmond’s Auction in support of BabyGrow 
  • Loughborough Makers’ Market with Northern Potters
  • White and Black at FaB Bath Arts Festival
  • Clay Collective, Platform Gallery, Clitheroe

2015

  • Art with a Heart exhibition, Altrincham, Cheshire
  • Northern Potters’ Exhibition, UCLAN, Preston

2014

  • West Lancashire Arts Open exhibition, Chapel Gallery

2013

  • West Lancashire Arts Open Competition, Chapel Gallery

2012

  •  MA Art and design degree show, UCLAN

2010

  •  In my Liverpool Home installation,  Skelmersdale

2009

  • BTEC exhibition, SCOLA gallery, Sutton, Surrey

2000 – 08

  • Student exhibitions, SCOLA
  • Open College certificate exhibition, SCOLA gallery

 

PRESS

  • 2017 Featured Artist in A5 magazine
  • 2017 Appear in the COCA (Centre for Ceramic Art) website,  Rethink Ceramics
  • 2016 Work featured in Average Art professional art magazine
  • 2016 NPA News
  • 2015 NPA News
  • 2013 MA thesis on public art and New Town development archived in the National Gallery and National Library of Australia

Characters on the board

These posts describe how the pieces in OUTBREAK embody the character of each viral chess piece and the blood cells that carry them. The ceramic pieces are designed to give a suggest of the power and function of each.

PAWNS

There are more pawns than any other pieces and they are easily removed from the game.  The Pawn can move from straight ahead only. From its starting square, the pawn can move 1 or 2 squares straight ahead.

blood-cells-pawns-red-and-white

RED AND WHITE BLOOD CELLS  have two main functions; the carriage of oxygen and defence against microbial attack.

Related image

Avian flu Rooks

ROOKS  can move any number of squares in horizontal and vertical directions, but cannot jump over any other piece. In the OUTBREAK  this is Avian Flu.

Rook

AVIAN FLU Commonly called bird flu this virus is transmitted by breathing it in, or when a person touches something that has the virus on it and then touches their mouth, eyes, nose or mouth.

Image result for avian flu microscope