LeeAnn Brook Fine Art: Deborah Bridges – Environment and Exploration

At once, the work of Grass Valley artist Deborah Bridges is both ephemeral and rooted in the mysterious and archetypal nature of the feminine, of mythology. In this inaugural show, LeeAnn Brook Fine Art will feature the atmospheric encaustic paintings and ceramic sculptures of award winning, multi-disciplinary artist Deborah Bridges for the month of May. “Environment and Exploration” will include her new series of ceramic sculptures of women as feminine archetype, including 5’ tall garden sculptures. The show runs May 1-31 at LeeAnn Brook Fine Art, 231 Broad Street in downtown Nevada City.

With an art education that began as an apprentice in a studio that specialized in monumental scale bronze sculpture, Bridges became a full time artist at age 35. She established a career in bronze classical figuration and then developed a line of cement garden sculpture. Considering herself primarily a sculptor, Bridges chose wax as a painting medium as an extension of clay and a sculptural material she was already familiar with. In her paintings, representing ‘Environment’, Bridges also chose to paint with wax because of its luminous depth and organic nature. In this way, her intention is to create an ‘atmospheric quality of ease, serenity and spaciousness.’

Her paintings, intuitive by nature, almost always have a dimensional grid of tiny lines throughout the layers of the wax. Bridges explains how the lines offer layered depth to the piece and speak to the invisible order of the manifest world. This interconnection, found in sacred geometry, lends itself to the natural order in which life organizes itself through one unified field of consciousness. The methods used in her encaustic paintings incrementally change yet she currently works with venetian plaster as the underpainting. Working with thin layers, color is added between the hot water with oil sticks and oil paints, resulting in about 15 to 20 layers of wax. While her sculptures are figurative, her paintings are more landscape based.

The sculptures, representing “Exploration”, follow a line of inspiration where Bridges starts small with maquettes (prototypes), allowing the ideas to evolve. The small sculptures are Bridges way of working through the concept until it becomes clear which to make into the next large piece. There will be over eight maquettes for sale in the show that demonstrate a fresh, artful quality, exploring various expressions. Wanting to portray the feminine as present and powerful, the first two full-scale sculptures in this series come from Greek and Norse mythology.

Bridges may not live by an official motto, but her ideas and inspiration are plentiful, as she recalled a Picasso quote she once heard, “Inspiration happens, but only if it finds you working.” Through being tenacious and navigating her career in a manner where ‘failure was not an option’, Bridges has been in art festivals all over the west coast and averaged around 17 shows per year. She now is represented by galleries on the West coast, including LeeAnn Brook Fine Art in Nevada City. She has a studio in Grass Valley, CA.

Her awards include second place in the 2017 Off Center International Ceramics Show, Blueline Gallery in Roseville, CA; first place for “Landscapes and Earth” at the 2019 Wild and Scenic Film Festival; awards in the Bellevue Art Festival, Sedona Art Festival, Salt Lake City Art Festival, Mill Valley Art Show and La Quinta Art Show. Her work has been featured in International Encaustic Arts , December issue, 2018, and Lo and Behold, Reveries of the Connected World, a movie by Werner Herzog.

LeeAnn Brook Fine Art is housed in a beautifully restored brick building in the heart of historic downtown Nevada City, CA. Located at 231 Broad Street, the gallery is open daily from 12-5 p.m., and is open on Saturdays at 11 a.m. To see the work of the gallery’s newest artists, and read more about the gallery and its upcoming shows and events, visit www.leeannbrookfineart.com . For further information, contact the office at 530-265-6817, or gallery at 530-557-5160.