Bimstein's work will be on display until March 4 at the Finch Lane Gallery. I cannot emphasize enough the magnificence of her work and the pull it seems to have on the viewer. Perhaps much of my enchantment has come from her life story, as told to me by her two children, Phillip and Barbara.
Phillip shared that his mother's interest in art began just after spending time "growing up in an orphanage in the 1920s." Helenka walked into a Toledo Institute Traveling Show which opened her eyes to the world of art. It was 34 years later that she started on her own artwork.
Helenka's art crosses into many cultural influences. She was fascinated with all things Egyptian. She would purchase Egypt art books, and allow her imagination to form art. Religion-wise, Helenka was pantheistic- she didn't adhere any one religion, but she had a fascination with spirits.
Romance is another strong theme in her work. Every piece, according to Phillip has a touch of this theme. Another influence, which is probably the most prevalent, is music. Her favorite piece was Ludwig van Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. In fact, when she passed, she was listening to this beautiful piano sonata. Her work has rhythm and color in such an express manner that it sings to the senses.
It was actually Barbara that first discovered and then strongly encouraged her mother's pursuit of painting and all things artistic. Barbara found paintings behind the furnace in her mother's home and "had a fit because she [her mother] wasn't painting." She told her mother, "you do beautiful plants, amazing fantasies." Barbara described her experience nurturing her mother to "take hold of herself and her art."
Truly Helenka has left a legacy that transcends time. One motto of hers was to "dress young, be young, think young." She thought of herself as 40-50 years younger than 96 and truly was "good to the end." Truly this life motto permeates into every painting and sculpture she has created. It is as though her work sings of freedom, passion and belief.
I invite you to lose and find yourself in the work of the late Helenka Bimstein. Her work has been featured across the nation, making this truly a once in a lifetime chance to have a personal glimpse into the heart and soul of a spirited artist who expressed that the intent of her art was to "recover that moment of almost lost, innocent discovery."