Bella Feldman

Bella Feldman

Bella Feldman makes extraordinary objects—objects that draw your attention by their appearance—their weight, mass, volume, material, posture, balance, and motion. Feldman’s sense of visual poetry, imagination, and expert use of historical references is captivating, and she is highly skilled at using subtle memory relationships to influence the viewer’s experience of her work. Her sculptures are intended to keep and enlarge their particular meanings over time as their imageries shift and evolve with the viewer’s experience of life.

Feldman selects her sculptural materials not only for structural reasons but also for the references they embody. She states, “Sculpture always has to have something that makes a body reference. Metals have psychological associations; I work with the inherent associations people have for materials. That’s why joining glass with metal together is so tense.”

Feldman’s sculptures are unquestionably beautiful—they contain elements of menace and irony, and when pairing blown glass with steel, her work acquires properties of those things that are at once delicate and unyielding. “It’s very different from what everyone is doing, falling for the seductive qualities of glass and not experimenting with what I see as the expressive possibilities.” Feldman’s sculptures are what the critic Harold Rosenberg aptly called “anxious objects.”

Feldman is a Professor Emeritus at the California College of the Arts. She received her master’s degree from San Jose State University. She has exhibited her work extensively in both solo and group shows, nationally and internationally. She has won numerous awards and grants, including the National Endowment for the Arts grant, Women’s Caucus for the Arts award and Kala Art Institute award. Also, her work has been published in many notable publications. Feldman’s sculptures are in prominent public and private collections, including the M.H. de Young Museum of San Francisco, the Oakland Museum of California, the Palm Desert Museum, and the Di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art. Today, Bella Feldman works out of her studio in Oakland, California.

Artist Statement

The house form is archetypal. Everyone can connect with a house form in one way or another.

Ladders have always symbolized aspiration for me. These pieces are made to evoke an emotional as well as an aesthetic response.

I follow Marcel DuChamp’s dictum: Let the viewer complete the piece.

Artist CV