(b. 1970, Rochester NY)
Helen Mirra is engaged in the overlapping realms of ecology and somatic experience, particularly through the activity of solo long-distance walking. Mirra's work occurs in everyday materials and engages structural and conceptual logics. In various ways, she has been thinking in her making life about the relationships between scale, time spans, modesty and bluntness. Mirra builds in a simple way, so as to make space to provoke attention without constraining interpretation. She approaches the forest and the library similarly, experiencing language and visuality as an amalgam. Whatever the object of concern—a blanket, book, rock, or shipping pallet—she has always perceived physical, aesthetic thingness as being simultaneous with and of equal import to intellectual and emotional information.
Having spent formative years in San Francisco before moving to Chicago in 1994 to attend graduate school at the University of Illinois, Mirra returned to the Bay Area in 2016, and now lives in West Marin. She was Senior Lecturer with the Committees of Visual Art and Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Chicago from 2001–2005.