Cover Up, Grassland, and Shakespeare
Talley Dunn Gallery
February 9 – March 23, 2019
Linda Ridgway, based in Dallas, is widely recognized for her poetic sculptures in bronze. Working across various media, Ridgway creates an evocative symbolic language using forms found in nature as well as domestic textiles. While her works reflect personal experiences and often allude to specific poems or works of literature, they also contemplate enduring questions of memory, womanhood, tradition, and ephemerality. Often ethereal in their delicacy and their inclusion of impermanent organic material, her works question accepted understandings of nature and femininity, and their connected cultural associations. Gestural lines, fine detail, and organic forms create a sense of intimacy and reveal the influence of post-minimalism in her work. Through her close attention to the form and textures of grasses, trees, flowers, and lace, and an underlying sense of the fleeting nature of bodily experience and memory, Ridgway prompts a reconsideration of self, and how we understand ourselves in relation to society.
Cover Up, Grassland, and Shakespeare features a selection of Ridgway’s recent works on paper. In a process similar to her direct castings from flowers, branches, or other objects, Ridgway creates a faintly embossed image by pressing lace or grasses directly onto the paper’s surface. The pressure needed to create this ghost image destroys the lace or grasses in the process. Then, working in graphite, Ridgway adds to the faint index left by the object, rendering it fully in painstaking but delicate detail.
In the works Victorian Twins, Forever, and Victorian Geometry, which depict lace using this process of embossing and drawing in graphite, Ridgway carefully cuts into the surface of the drawing, emphasizing each minute area of the lace’s negative space. The repetitive and meticulous nature of Ridgway’s process bears homage to the laborious work of tatting lace or crocheting doilies—work historically performed by women. In her meticulous renderings, and by cutting into the drawings’ support to reflect the transparency of lace, Ridgway transforms her drawings into textiles; thereby, the works subvert the hierarchal separation between art and craft.
Meanwhile, many of the works in Cover Up, Grassland, and Shakespeare speak both to the temporary, fleeting nature of life, and to its poignant beauty. In drawings with titles that reflect the poetry of Robert Frost, the Christian parable of the lilies of the field, and Shakespeare, Ridgway captures the subtle movement, elegance, and material vulnerability of thin grasses, flowers, and transparent fabrics. Ridgway’s works on paper create space to recognize the fragility of life and to contemplate its moments of exquisite beauty.