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21/09/2006 - 30/10/2006

AR / Contemporary Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of selected works by New York-based artist Beth Brideau.
The huge pieces of paper containing irregularly painted color spots attract attention and open a window to another world. Upon closer view the abstract and expressive gestures become sensible analysis of nearly endless landscapes with forests and rivers. Stepping backwards, the monochrome watercolor paintings in the white exhibition space are like clouds in an open sky. And this is the escape route of Beth Brideau, a young, New York-based emerging artist.

By painting panoramic views of landscapes, Brideau achieves a contemporary interpretation of a traditional genre in the visual arts and classic theme in art history. The Egyptians, Etruscans and Romans tried to suggest the countryside with symbols and attributes. It wasn’t until the 14th century that Italian artists succeeded to approximate a kind of reality. With her talent and accumulated knowledge Brideau reaches a high level of artistic expression and masters the technique of reduction and enrichment at the same time. On a graphite draft, using only water and one color, she paints an infinite number of color values and expresses all the necessary detail of the panoramic scene. “Perspective” takes on a dual meaning: Classic linear perspective of the landscape reinforces the perspective of the viewer’s vertiginous distance between the airplane and the earth. At that point the paintings’ non-geometrical abstraction achieves the spiritual transcendence of Abstract Expressionism, as well as the harmonic void of eastern philosophy.

Even after having been mistaken for a terrorist, Brideau still takes original photographs of air views for her paintings. However, for this series she selected her images from satellite renderings of the earth: Monochrome landscapes reveal her escape route from New York City to South America. The virtual flight contains a clear political and social critique of her home country: “I have decided to do a series of paintings of what would be my escape route. When the US becomes too much, too horrible my plan is to escape to Uruguay. So I have collected images from a fictitious flight from NYC to Montevideo.” For this reason virtual pictures of a real desire become a painted truth of a fictive reality.

Oliver Orest Tschirky, Curator and Art Critic, Bern, Switzerland