BENJAMIN BRIDGES: PYTHAGORAS ADRIFT
14 March - 12 April 2014
dalla Rosa is delighted to present Pythagoras Adrift, Benjamin Bridges first solo exhibition at the gallery. Working on canvas, board, and paper the artist has created a new body of work that focuses on compositional balance, pairings of colours, line and application of paint. Bridges’ recent paintings – especially the ones on canvas – explore ways of creating texture, using paint in a much looser manner to reveal his layering technique in a less controlled way. Structures defined by neat lines are counterbalanced by washed-down backgrounds that emphasize the perception of liquid drift.
I loved the Perspex surfaces I was working on for a long time. It was so smooth and flat and the edges were stunning, but the moment I wanted to push more movement and energy into the painting, it just couldn’t handle it. I had discovered its qualities but also its limitations and had grown weary of it. I found it restrictive. I started looking back at the surfaces I had used before, namely canvas and mdf and at what artists had been using for thousands of years. I took the plunge and bought a big box of canvass frames and varying mdf panels.
Working on them has really opened up the possibilities, allowing me to be far more aggressive with the paint and more versatile in the application. These surfaces give me a chance to push myself, and even alter my practice and aims mid way through a painting if I so choose. In essence that’s what’s represented in this show. It is about reaching, maybe even groping in the dark for some ideas, where the surface is the place on which the idea is worked out rather that where it is illustrated. (Benjamin Bridges, 2014)
Along with the canvas works, Bridges has explored the use of dark tones on board, a series that he defined as 'blanks'. These smaller paintings are studies on composition, framing the outer edges (round or square) with vibrant colours and adding a few touches of paint that suggest depth and movement. Considering these works Bridges wrote: I think the framing gives them a context, and the darkness is a void, and any mark made in the space is a kind of pure gesture, floating in the darkness, alone and isolated. It has room to breath, and sit and rest in the minds eye.
Two series of large graphite drawings also highlight similar themes, building line and composition within framed areas. Using the same size paper he took different approaches to geometry, expressing the push and pull between extreme order and chaos. In one case a controlled study on well-defined lines (how to construct a box), and in the other a progressive implosion of angular shapes (particles bouncing within a space).
About the Artist
Benjamin Bridges is an artist, curator, and documentary producer based in London. He started showing while studying Fine Art Painting at Wimbledon (2007-10) , and had two solo exhibitions at ARTTRA (Amsterdam) in 2010 and 2013. He took part in group shows at dalla Rosa (2012 and 2013), Transition Gallery (2013), and Matthews Yard (Croydon, 2013) among others. Bridges was short listed for the 2009 Prunella Clough Painting Prize, and took part in the Royal Academy Summer Show (2008 and 2012) and the 2013 Threadneedle Prize. In 2012 he set up Hollow Earth London, a fine arts platform showcasing emerging talent in London through artists interviews and documentaries.