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University of Iowa News Release

April 15, 2005

Sculptor Helmick Will Speak At UI April 25

Sculptor Ralph Helmick will present a free public lecture on his work at 8:15 p.m. Monday, April 25 in Room E109 of the University of Iowa Art Building. The lecture is sponsored by the UI School of Art and Art History.

Helmick wrote, "My artwork arises from a search for an esthetic appropriate to the new millennium. In this pursuit I acknowledge both classical figuration and the art of the 20th century, in particular Surrealist, Conceptualist and Constructivist influences.

"For reasons I would term as political, my primary focus during the past 10 years has been on creating sculpture for public spaces. Often, my work blends classical technique with modern analysis, synthesizing humanistic form with high technology.

"While I embrace aspects of high technology and employ computers in certain stages of design, my goal is to create sculpture that promotes meditative reflection, acting as antidote to the dominant frenetic media culture. The artwork starts with the hand and ends with the hand."

Helmick received a bachelor's degree in American studies from the University of Michigan, attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and received a master's of fine arts in sculpture from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Tufts University in Medford, Mass. Early in his career Helmick exhibited his work in several solo shows in Boston and New York, as well as in group exhibitions in museums throughout New England.

Among his many awards is a National Endowment for the Arts/New England Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the GSA National Design Award in 2000, and numerous other design honors for his public artwork. He has taught extensively at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and as a visiting artist at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina, and at colleges and universities in the Northeast.

Helmick and Stuart Schechter, an artist and former rocket scientist, have been collaborating since 1994. A shared interest in the mechanics of visual perception, especially the consolidating properties of human vision, led the artists to the concept for their first collaboration, "Ghostwriter," an interior suspended sculpture for the Evanston, Ill., Public Library. Since then the artists have developed a range of experimental approaches linked more by underlying esthetic principals than a signature style.

For information and images of Helmick's work, visit his Web page at

The School of Art and Art History is part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

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