Claire Bridge

Air Born

March 29 - April 12 2014

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”  Leonardo da Vinci

Air Born is about the possibilities of imagination, the desire to rise, float, even to fly, to be airborne, to go beyond limitations - to be free,” says Melbourne-based Claire Bridge. “There is something about weightlessness, about floating and suspension that appeals to my imagination; this resistance of gravity. Clouds float. Memories float. Experience floats. All possibility floats.”

Air fills the space between earth and sky. It is an invisible, animating force that links the individual with the cosmos. “All that is energy is transmitted through the air,” continues Bridge. “The frequency of light, sound, scent and pollen are all carried in the air. So too the oxygen we breathe. Moving through air, breathing in and breathing out we are born by air into the new.” Bridge describes her paintings as seeking to open gateways into the timeless and making visible that which is invisible. The artist is conveying a state of consciousness in which “the duality of the inner and outer worlds coexist.”

The interrelationship of microcosm and macrocosm is integral to folkloric and world religious traditions. Modern science understands that the material world, although appearing dense and solid, is fundamentally made up of vibratory, connective energy. It was a meditation on the laws of quantum physics and the alchemists’ search for the transcendent ‘elixir of the eternal’ that inspired the imagery for Bridge’s current and recent bodies of work. “The edge of change is where my work begins,” she declares.

Bridge’s paintings are a combination of pure classicism and sensuous illusionism. Modelled with consummate skill to describe the solidity of form, her figures exert a very real physicality. They occupy an indefinite space, one that verges on the surreal, as invisible forces levitate them skyward. With eyes averted and oblivious to the viewer’s gaze, the figures seem utterly absorbed in their process of transcendence. Bridge has carefully articulated the poses to reflect the interiority of this ‘threshold’ condition.

Although her figures float and hover, Bridge explains the works also attempt to express the subtle, unseen energies at play - “the chaos amidst the calm.” She describes these as manifesting in the moments where pigment and image dissolve one into the other. “In painting the visible, I allow a gap to infer that which is unseen. It is in the transition from the old to the new - in the void of the space between - that magic happens.”

A masterful unification of psychological depth and visual accuracy, Bridge’s pictures hold a tremendous dramatic force. Mesmerized by their power, we cross the threshold into the numinous where physicality and spirituality, form and formlessness, logic and imagination, the dream and the reality are contiguous.

Claire Bridge holds a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Painting Major, Monash University 1991. She has been the Visual Arts Advisor for the American Australian Association since 2011. Her success in numerous prestigious prizes include: Finalist, 50th Festival of the Fisher's Ghost Art Award 2012; Finalist, R & M McGivern Prize 2012, 2009; Finalist, Sir John Sulman Prize, AGNSW 2011; Finalist, Doug Moran National Portrait Prize 2009, 2008; Winner, Living Art Award, 2009; Winner, People’s Choice Award, Stan and Maureen Duke Art Prize 2008; Finalist, Mosman Art Prize 2008; Finalist, Williamstown Festival Contemporary Art Prize 2008; Winner, People’s Choice Award, Portia Geach Memorial Award 2007; Finalist, The Hutchins Art Prize 2007; Finalist, Portia Geach Memorial Award 2006; Finalist, Conrad Jupiters Art Prize 2004; Winner, Walker St Gallery Linden Award 2003; Winner, Dux Freelance Management Dux High Flyers Award 1998; Winner, Deans Art Graduate Illustration Award 1998; Winner, Zurich Insurance Visual Arts Scholarship 1997.




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