Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Alumni Feature: Liz Helfer

Elizabeth Helfer graduated from Alfred University in May 2010, she was born and raised in New Durham, NH. Liz developed a love for sculpture early on, working with modeling clay and paper. Named "Most Artistic" throughout her elementary, middle, and high school years; Elizabeth attended the New Hampshire All-State Art Festival and the St. Paul's School Advanced Studies Program for Studio Art. It was her St. Paul's School experience which guided her toward a continued art education. She has continued her artistic development through her travels, including a trip to Wales representing Alfred to participate in the 6th International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art and work at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota.

'Beauty and the Bees Bronze' 12½”x 13”x3”   2010

'Selkie'  Bronze and glass 10”x4”x3½”  2009
Artist Statement
I want my sculptures to tell a story. I began in this vein by literally translating western folklore into cast metal and glass sculpture. My artwork has grown to include personal narratives and explore the idea of location in history. Recently, I realized that the viewer’s interpretation of the story does not need to relate directly to the original. I simply want the audience to experience a sense of narrative that feels familiar and significant.
Within the realm of metal casting, I prefer to create complex patterns for the lost wax process. Although I may create several pieces related to a central theme, I prefer to use molds only once. This parallels the telling of a story, where each interpretation contains its own nuance and subtlety. When seen together the sculptures may seem to relate only through material choices. I use titles to give the viewer clues to the original story and links between sculptures.
I am beginning to look outside of metal but the casting process, from conception to product, seems fitting to the concept of history. The length of the metal casting process allows outside forces to manipulate the final product, which has interested me as the element of history beyond human control.

This past fall Elizabeth exhibited in All Fired Up: Contemporary Iron Art at the Peninsula School of Art, Fish Creek, WI. She is currently working on a public sculpture with cast iron elements for a sculpture walk in Rochester, NH, coming this summer. She will be back at Franconia Sculpture Park as Program Assistant in the spring. She is in the process of applying to grad school and hopes to begin her MFA studies for sculpture in fall 2012.

1 comment:

Lorrie Drake said...

Congratulations, Elizabeth! Your work is stunning.