Helga Prosser
Artist Image on Item View
Helga Prosser
Circled, welded steel, 35 x 32 x 13 cm, £400

Helga obtained a fine art degree from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, where I studied under Lippy Lipshitz. She was awarded the Michaelis prize in 1952. In Britain since 1959, Helga studied welding and bronze casting at the Central School of Art in London with Leslie Thornton and became fascinated with possibilities of welded sculpture. It was an inexpensive means of working directly without having to consider the difficulties of casting complex shapes, and more importantly, large shapes or figures could fly through the air balanced on a single point. Space could not only penetrate shape, but also be under it. The strength of the steel could overcome other limitations of more traditional materials being able to be large, tough and moveable. These qualities coincided with her growing interest in moving human figures – the vigorous striving of football and rugby players, and the human relationships expressed in the movements of the ballet, could be built up and frozen into gestures in this strong, but flexible material. "I particularly like its uncompromising hard shiny quality which forces on to pare ideas down to essentials," she says. Living in Saudi Arabia for a number of years Helga started painting watercolours of the desert and its people. Painting continues to be an absorbing interest, especially when visiting new and exotic places. Recently she has started working more in clay. The innovative slab-building techniques of contemporary ceramic artists have inspired her to use clay like steel, but instead of using rolled slabs, building from thrown pieces which are structurally stronger. "I have been astonished at how sympathetically ideas transfer from one medium to the other. Glaze colours are proving challenging and exciting," she adds.

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