Foe-Fum, 2003. Steel and glass, 11 x 15 x 11 in. Left: Locus, 1998. Steel and wood, 66 x 74 x 56 in.

Solidity is Always Undermined: A Conversation with Bella Feldman

Bella Feldman, a veteran creator of innovative sculpture, recently exhibited 85 pieces at the Richmond Art Center in a 50-year survey. The daughter of hard-working Polish-Jewish immigrants, Feldman was born in the Bronx, where the only picture on the wall of her family’s tenement apartment was a photograph of Lenin. One of her biggest influences was attending the High School of Music and Art, where she numbered young Rachel Rosenthal and Judy Shahn, Ben Shahn’s daughter, among her friends. When she first visited the Museum of Modern Art at the age 13, she was struck by Giacometti’s Palace at 4 a.m., “which reminded me of the little houses I used to construct out of shoeboxes…but with a mysterious quality.” Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s large tragic figures also made an indelible impression. Later, the work of David Smith, Martin Puryear, and Eva Hesse had a big impact on Feldman: “Eva Hesse’s examination of fragility overlapped with mine. As Jews and women, we shared a similar psychology and feeling about the world.”…see the entire article in the print version of October’s Sculpture magazine.

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