Claire Falkenstein

"A California sculptor extraordinaire who never fit neatly into a style or artistic label, Claire Falkenstein continues to defy the artistic norm in a comprehensive exhibition of her exquisite jewelry. Passionate, argumentative and never willing to take no for an answer, Falkenstein single handedly carved out a career for herself in an era where male artists dominated and set the styles."

"She favored open linear structures made of wire and metal tubing that could be deployed in either flat or fully dimensional works; a kind of circular, sunburst form was a frequent motif and perhaps the best illustration of a concept that she called ''expanding space.''

(St. Basil's church, Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles)

from Smithsonian Archives here.

"Those years in Paris have been very important to me because that gave me the time, the freedom, the isolation, the--what can I say--to be alone and to work out certain problems that I had to have answered for myself, and I arrived at a vocabulary of art for myself. The vocabulary consisted of the never-ending screen, the sign and the ensemble, topological structure, lattice structure, and then the combination sometimes of any two or any three. When I did St. Basil Church, I had the idea of using my never-ending screen, but in three dimensions. And with this part of my vocabulary I was able to, how can I say, express not only form and architectural relationships to the architecture of the church, but also a very good idea that works with a religious attitude. The Cardinal [McIntire] asked me, "Are you religious?," when I presented my idea to him for the windows and the doors. And I said, "Oh yes. I'm very religious." But he didn't ask me what religion. If he had asked me, I would have said nature, because through nature I came to the never-ending screen. And he said, "How do you show religion through these windows." And I said, "Well, if the observer really goes and looks through interval after interval, between the sections of my never-ending screen," I said, "the observer will find himself either in eternity or infinity," And he said, "That is wonderful. I want you to do these windows." To my knowledge, they're the only abstract windows for a Catholic church. I've never heard of another one. I know that Matisse did a kind of abstraction with the figure, but this is a complete attitude of abstraction. "