For background on the artist and works, see below.
About the ArtistBridget Bidwill was born in the Wairarapa in 1956. After secondary school in Hawkes Bay she studied at the Ilam School of Arts at Canterbury University, completing her Diploma of Fine Arts in Painting in 1977. After travelling and living in Europe for three years, Bridget Bidwill returned to New Zealand and began painting in 1983. Since then she has exhibited regularly in Wellington and Auckland where she lived until 1995, when she and her husband moved to Marlborough. Her paintings have been purchased by corporate, public and private collectors here and abroad. Bidwill’s work has a shadowy likeness to European and British traditions of modernist painting and yet have their own contemporary awareness. Reference to Still-Life and more recently landscape remain evident even in her most abstract works. Her paintings create an aura which seems foreign yet familiar – where glimpses of the abstract and the real world converge. She paints mostly in oils on canvas, board and primed paper. Bridget writes: “One of my primary aims is to use the medium of painting to provoke feeling and thought. Just as instrumental and classical music needs no lyrics to create atmosphere and meaning, abstract painting does not need to copy reality to prove its intellectual and aesthetic worth.”
Bridget Bidwill uses subtle tonal contrasts to create a sense of atmosphere and space in works which are abstract but suggestive of elements of reality. She uses freeform shapes such as vessels, bottles, leaves, ovals, which suggest ‘still life’ but are intended to create a meditative space that evokes feeling and thought.
She uses an understated palette, sometimes with fields of colour hinting at the natural world, accented with rich deep reds and blues, working towards a balance. Like Roy Good and JS Parker, she uses colour in subtle contrasts so the painting has a sense of movement or poetry.
Bidwill’s recent work has an increasing use of texture either through painting onto layered or collaged canvas or onto textured wood panels, as well as using more thickly applied paint to create variations in surface. The vessels and forms float within the space, but sometimes reveal the layers of work which lie beneath.
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