Artists find themselves Anchored

A new exhibition at the National Gallery surveys the work of artists David Bridgeman and Chris Mann, examining in depth the pairs central preoccupation: landscape.

Anchored in Landscapes, will explore the manifold ways in which these artists reinvent the traditional genre of landscape painting, investigating themes of identity, nationality and transformation. Curated by National Gallery Deputy Director Natalie Coleman, and sponsored by Coutts, the exhibition is on view through March 24, 2005.

Having resided in the Cayman Islands for years Mann and Bridgeman have been highly influential as arts educators and as serious artists in their own right. Their work appears in the collections of the National Museum, Cayman National Cultural Foundation and the National Gallery and private collections here and abroad.

While they have exhibited together in the past this is their first two-man show, a collaboration that was inspired by the artists’ mutual passion for Expressionism, a style in which an artist seeks to depict not objective reality but rather the subjective emotions and responses that objects and events arouse.

Mann, Head of Art at George Hicks High School, believes that making art is a natural extension of looking, a desire to record what is interesting to look at in the world both physically and emotionally. His primary interest lies in colour, shape and texture which he feels are qualities fundamental to visual beauty. Working in bold pigments, symbolism and collage – a throwback to his sculptural background – his art captures the viewer’s attention immediately and invokes an emotional response.

Bridgeman, a teacher at the Cayman Prep and High School, shares Mann’s interest in colour and collage. His paintings have been described as austere and aggressive, reminiscent at times of the German Expressionists. One artist commented that they were distinctive not so much by what was put in as by what was left out. Most paintings have strong emotional ties to the landscape and the figure. Symbols are often used to convey a thought or a feeling, together with strong gestural strokes and colours. He works mainly in oils and often incorporates printing and collage to produce large and expressive works.

After several recent group collaborations at the National Gallery highlighting assemblage, installation and multi media, this exhibition returns to the more traditional medium of painting.

This exhibition has been made possible by the generosity of Coutts as part of its three-year pledge of support for the Gallery’s events and programmes.