Esther Helfer - BA (Hons) Contemporary Art Practice

Esther Helfer walk of the River Dee
Esther’s project is an exploration of the River Dee, its journey from source to sea and the many bridges that cross over it. She walks the length of the river, making note of its turns and twists to produce a stunning project.

As an artist, Esther says she’s interested in the similarities and differences between organic and manufactured structures. Taking the structures of the striking suspension bridges that crisscross upper Deeside, she has developed a three-part installation. The first part is an outdoor piece that uses beams, mimicking the frame of the bridges, to contrast with the pre-existing form of a tree. The second and third explore the geography of the river and its crossing points. 

She works with metal to make the structures in the tree and is drawn to welding and using steel because of it's connotations with industrial manufacture. 

Esther said: “It is common to find the remains of rusty steel objects when walking through hills and farmland.  For my outdoor installation I hope to convey a sense of the complexities between man-made objects and the natural world, working with the tensions between wood and metal to create a contrasting combination of forms. The indoor set up is slightly more literal, and with it, I hope to engage the viewer with an interest in the geography and space that the river occupies.”


 “The challenge of doing a yearlong project has been very fun. Seeing how the ideas change and develop over time and getting the chance to really dig my teeth into research and metalworking in a way the shorter projects have not.”

“Gray's is a small community, and I have really enjoyed getting to know the people in it. That and its amazing location on the banks of the river dee have made it a place where I have had the time and space to grow as an artist.”

“Naturally, the Covid pandemic impacted years, had a huge immediate and knock-on effect on my uni years. During this time, I had hoped to work more with sculpture and 3D Design but it was limited because of the lockdowns. It has however made this final year so much more important and motivating.”

Now that Esther is graduating, she’s looking forward to spending the summer and next few years travelling and working to build up a range of experiences that will help develop my practice. Her long-term plan is to do a postgraduate course in art therapy. She is also interested in doing residencies and commissioned work.  

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