WILSON, N.C. — August 30, 2022 — An extraordinary series of paintings by North Carolina artist Ben Bridgers will open the fall semester at the Barton Art Galleries, on the campus of Barton College. The exhibition opened August 29 and will run through October 7. On Thursday, September 8, the Barton Art Galleries will host a reception from 5-7 p.m. for “Solivagant.” At 6 p.m., an artist lecture will feature Bridgers. This event is open to the public at no charge, and the community is invited to attend.
“‘Solivagant,’ the title of the exhibit, means to wander alone — a fitting description of the artistic process and a word that also speaks to the beauty and mystery of the paintings by Bridgers,” explains Maureen O’Neill, director of exhibitions and educational programming for the Barton Art Galleries and assistant professor of art at Barton College. “The rich layered surfaces of oil paint, the echoes of brushed lines that draw the eye in and around the canvases bring the viewer on a journey. To experience a Ben Bridgers painting is to wander through marvelous, invented worlds of forms and abstracted characters on painted stages. Bridgers’ works combine traditional oil painting techniques with imagery that reflects an observant eye. He is a collector of details from pop culture — music, city graphics, art history icons, skateboard parks – imagery that is collected and later drawn upon as part of his personal painted choreography. These large canvases with the artist’s private wanderings are intimate and true, painted with a masterful hand.”
About the artist —
After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Barton College in 1995, Bridgers traveled abroad to begin graduate work at The University of Georgia’s campus in Cortona, Italy. He went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art in Athens, Ga., in 1999.
Bridgers taught studio courses at the University of Georgia from 1996-2002, including a 2001 term at the University’s Studies Abroad Program in Cortona, Italy. From 2002-2004, Bridgers taught as a Visiting Professor of Art at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and later taught and led the Painting and Drawing curriculum at the University of Redlands in Redlands, Calif., where he earned tenure as an Associate Professor of Art.
He has maintained an active studio practice during the past 30 years and has exhibited his work in galleries and museums across the United States. Bridgers’ work is held in public and private collections throughout the United States, Italy, and Japan.
Currently, Bridgers works in his home studio in Durham and serves as the Manager of Park Collection and Exhibitions at the North Carolina Museum of Art.
“My painting practice involves time; and the realization that this curious alchemy – paint on brush, paint on canvas, paint on paint – continues to hold me, anchored to this process,” noted Bridgers. “In the studio where my head spins and my heart beats, I root around in ideas and images from my own experience. The themes include mind wanderings, sensations noticed, feelings remembered – transitory events that have shaken my sense of home – revealing loss, love, and obsession. My work looks to both representation and non-representation, for a middle ground that is imagined and observed, felt, and touched, dripped, and formed. The dark wells in my paintings are held open by the hopeful threads from painting to painting, each one revealing a new world to help make the next and so on. The process, as Philip Guston said, ‘…seems like an impossibility, with only a sign now and then of its own light.’”
For more information about this exhibition, please contact Maureen O’Neill at email@example.com or 252-399-6476.