Adaptations and Regret

It is with the deepest regret that I write of the passing of Helene Brandt

Brandt with Adam and Eve  image © Deborah Johnstone

Sculptor, Helene Brandt with Adam and Eve image © Deborah Johnstone

I had the honor to act as curator for an exhibition of Helene’s work last year. She will remain my muse; her ability to embrace a capricious world as a never-ending source of inspiration and her appreciation for every part of nature continues to inform my own work. She revered the smallest intricacies of a fallen leaf, or a shard of broken sea glass – it was all, beautiful, all part of nature and her joy was infectious.

Helene Brandt: Octo Bird

Helene Brandt: Octo Bird

I recall the first time I entered her studio – there were several dead, dried octopuses strewn on her worktables. She was obsessed with how to incorporate them into other objects so that it made sense – so a metamorphosis that would naturally occur in nature could be realized in her mind and transmitted to the remains of wood and wire and beads and skin in front of her. She was always, transfixed by natural life – that inevitable progression of birth through death – and what most people never bothered to see. She made me see differently. Helene made me listen differently – to ambient noises of the city, the splash of a sparrow in a puddle and the beating of rain on a tin roof. Everything was charged with its own spirit – its own intent – its own longing. I will miss our conversations about art and life and people and the forces that will never be contained.

— Deborah Johnstone

Helene Brandt
Metro Gallery, New York City, 2011

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