Artist at work
2021 Healdsburg Center for the Arts Unprecedented Exhibition
Artist at work
Inspired by the human figure, Claudette Bleijenberg focuses mostly on the strength and fierceness of the female spirit. Through her sculptures, she explores the various meanings and interpretations of beauty. Rather than focusing on physical attributes or external aesthetics, she focuses on the internal and embraces the beauty of raw emotions. Feelings of solitude, rejection, and despair often interweave with the voluptuous curves in her female figures.
Primarily working with water-based clay and cast bronze, her over ten years long practice challenges predetermined notions of beauty standards—both masculine and feminine. Additionally, through triumphant celebrations of confidence and uniqueness, she makes statements against societal vanity. Her works reaffirm that the human body and its varied presentations are inherently beautiful. Furthermore, her figurative sculptures highlight the beauty found in the lines and curves of the human body. They also capture the strength and vulnerability found within. By using various mediums and finishes, Bleijenberg’s emotionally charged figures capture how light can enhance a form’s contours and how light and shadow create everchanging angles, shapes, lines, and mass.
Works from her Fragmented series, capture the haunting beauty that comes from the vulnerability and intensity of an exposed soul. They highlight the beauty of the tension found in a figure’s curves in protected poses such as arms wrapped around their chest or in the fetal position. Through her Deviant Collection, Bleijenberg explores the intimate connections between individuals both with others and by themselves. Reverent and intimate poses capture unique physical and psychological interactions ubiquitous to the human experience.
Preferring to work with live models when possible, Bleijenberg works towards one constant outcome—a final narrative inspired by the model. More specifically, she strives to create organic pieces that capture more than the physical form, sculptures that convey spirit and energy. Furthermore, her sculptures explore the connections between the artist’s hands and the model. And how the relationship between the mind’s eye that allows for a unique experience that feeds the soul. Bleijenberg allows for the story and spirit of the work to be revealed gradually. A measured and careful process allows for the essence of her sculptures to express themselves and to communicate their narrative. Bleijenberg’s process encompasses the strength, vulnerability, power, and liberation of both the piece and artist, allowing them to become one.
Bleijenberg’s pieces command attention from the room through a nonverbal dialogue stemming from serene yet dynamic poses. Each piece created is unique and different, but they all embrace the artist’s soul and compel the viewer to become part of an intimate encounter and to view the artist’s and model’s world through sculpture.