Helaine Blumenfeld’s work is about beauty and the expression of feeling; the forms often come to her in dreams and she explores them in clay before committing them to marble. Discussing her work, Helaine says:
“I created Allegro at a time when themes in my sculptural practice were coming together and flowing through my work as individual melodies or musical passages, joining together, at times creating harmony and occasionally producing dissonance. Often, though seeming more complex, there is a new unity as themes merge into a single more lyrical composition.”
“On the Edge was an exciting, breakthrough piece that brought me to the next stage of my work. It combined the complexity of my earlier sculptures with the clarity and simplicity that I wanted to achieve. The marble is carved so thin that light enters the piece and becomes a part of its meaning. It was important to take the risk of doing a sculpture like this to move forward in my sculptural practice, to do something different. The challenge is not that you copy others but that you copy yourself. The ability to contradict your own forms is at the basis of every break-through you make as an artist.”
“Meridiana means sundial in Italian and although it is not intended as an accurate predictor of time, I want to encourage viewers to observe how MERIDIANA’s shadow changes with each hour and season. MERIDIANA calls us to be present, to cast our own shadows in the world. The sculpture reaches upwards, inviting us to take time out to reflect and strive towards their aspirations.”
Helaine is one of the most respected and accomplished figures working in sculpture today. Her work is in collections throughout the world, including the Courtauld Gallery, the Smithsonian and the Tate. Two monumental works in marble can be seen in Hyde Park, in central London. In 1985, she had a joint show with Henry Moore in New York. Helaine was a professor of philosophy before she turned to sculpture in the 1960s, when she studied under the legendary Russian artist, Ossip Zadkine. She now lives in Cambridge and works there and in Pietrasanta. In 2007, she won the International Sculpture Prize, and was awarded an honorary OBE in 2011. A film about her life and work, Hard Beauty, was recently screened on Sky Arts.