This August, Artereal Gallery is proud to unveil Bridie Gillman’s first solo exhibition with Artereal Gallery. Titled Unreliable Memories, the exhibition spotlights the work of a Brisbane based artist who is fast gaining attention for her evocative abstract paintings defined by an alluring gestural sensibility and an affinity for colour. Taking as her starting point fragmented childhood memories, Bridie Gillman’s paintings and accompanying ceramics draw on whimsy and the fleeting, transformative nature of memory and nostalgia to create artworks which evoke emotion rather than reality.
To view & purchase artworks scroll to the end of this online exhibition page.
Soaked in memory Bridie Gillman’s artworks evolve out of personal memories which metamorphosise into gestural abstract works that evoke the colours, sensations and sounds of the past. Just as memories are distorted with time and distance, Gillman’s paintings and ceramics aim not to create a facsimile of reality, but rather to capture the dreamy, emotion tinged quality of nostalgia and the mysterious ambiguity of personal recollections.
When creating a new painting or ceramic sculpture, the starting point for each work can be as simple as the memory of a painting her mother made when she was a small child – capturing the view of the courtyard – the memory of which has now been conjured and revisioned by the artist. Another work (titled It covered mum’s painting table) revisits the paint splattered pink plastic covering that protected her mother’s painting table – effectively functioning as a kind of abstracted portrait of the artist’s mother.
The childhood home evoked in this particular series of paintings is one located in Jakarta, Indonesia and is a site that Gillman herself has not visited in many decades. Over time, the fine line between what is remembered and what has been implanted into the mind via photographs and story telling has become blurred and ambiguous.
Rooted in reality, Gillman’s works are titled in a way that offers clues and encourages the viewer to construct their own narrative or interpretation, and yet ultimately it is the artist’s fascination with the malleable and magical qualities of memory that instils the work with a sense of mystery which makes them undeniably compelling.
A more recent development within her practice has been the addition of accompanying ceramic works. Modelled from memory on an object from the artist’s childhood, these deeply personal ceramics are a further experiment in ways of seeing and revisiting the past.
Melding and blending colours with sweeping gestural brushstrokes, Bridie Gillman uses a trained painter’s eye to employ glazing and underglazing in an experimental and alchemical fashion.
A personal meditation on the past and a way of making sense of her own sense of self and lived experiences, Bridie Gillman’s works conjure up visions of colour and sensation which are at once deeply personal and universally appealing.
Rhianna Melhem, 2021
“My practice is informed by ideas of place, and the ways in which experiences and memories shape our perspective of a site.
Unreliable Memories is a reflection on my home in Jakarta – the first home I remember living in. Each painting and sculpture relates to a specific memory within this intimate domestic space. Clean tiles underfoot; the vine covered walls of our back courtyard; my mother’s painting table; and a fish bowl with two turtles and far too many fish. All things I think I remember, but I can’t be so sure, they blur. They are unreliable.
These moments and observations have been distilled in paint through colour and abstract response. As memories of a place often shift over time, with details fading and colours changing, I welcome the distortion that occurs in the process of remembering, and further, in the process of making.
The ceramic sculptures are informed by the same process. Beginning with a specific remembered item, the object morphs during the making process. They become an abstracted form based in reality, yet are unconcerned with being representational.”
Artist statement, 2021
Bridie Gillman graduated from Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Art (First Class Honours) in 2013. Her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia and internationally, including Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane; Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney; The Walls, Gold Coast; Blindside, Melbourne and Run Amok, George Town, Malaysia. She is a past finalist of the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship, 15 Artists, the MAMA National Photography Prize, and in 2019 was winner of the Moreton Bay Region Art Award. She has undertaken residencies in Kedewatan, Indonesia, in 2019 and George Town, Malaysia, in 2015, among others. In addition to her own art practice, Gillman is co-director of STABLE, an artist-run initiative in Brisbane.
View all works from Bridie Gillman’s current series below.
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