Cole Art Center features ‘A Song Only to Herself’ until March 30
Published: Monday, February 25, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 25, 2013 13:02
There was an atmosphere of casual sophistication in the dimly lit room of the Reavley Gallery in the Cole Art Center downtown.
The crowd of people, a mix of art students and viewers, mingled and observed the artistic works of Linda Ridgway. Ridgway is a Dallas teacher and artist of printmaking and sculpting whose exhibit “A Song Only to Herself” will run through March 30.
“My work is often spurred on by my love of poetry and my love of words,” Ridgway said in her opening reception. Her artwork is a mix of literature, bronze and printmaking inspired by her mother reading to her as a child.
“For me, getting started is to sit and read and think about a line or two, and before you know it poetry, like art, takes you to a place that goes beyond the real world,” she said. Ridgway describes the experience as “floating” while she creates her works of art.
“This show is in essence the story about my life,” she said.
Ridgway obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Louisville School of Art in Kentucky and pursued a teaching assistantship at Tulane University in New Orleans. She grew up planting and working on a farm. Works such as, “The secret sits in the middle and knows,” depicts her upbringing and is also a line a line from Robert Frost’s poem “The Secret Sits.” On the gallery walls, Ridgway’s history prevails through her works of art. There are two drawings of aprons, paying tribute to her mother.
“I never saw my mother without an apron for a long time,” Ridgway said.
She also has another collection of drawings titled “Alice Chronicles,” a series of three ballerina skirts symbolizing Alice in Wonderland’s tumble down the rabbit hole.
“When I’m drawing on those ‘Alice Chronicles’ it’s like I’m lost,” Ridgway said. “It surrounds you.”
Some of Ridgway’s favorite poets are Mary Oliver, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. She stated that one of her favorite books is “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and her work “For Harper” is dedicated to the author. The artwork, a bronze pillow, is filled inside with the complete book cut into strips. The process of obtaining artists’ work for the art galleries is a system of inviting an artist, receiving post cards and developing faculty committees.
“There’s a constant series of investigations,” said John Handley, director of galleries at SFA. “You’re always looking.”
Handley said he first saw Ridgway’s work at the John Berggruen Gallery in San Francisco. Handley supervises the Griffith Gallery in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, and the Cole Art Center.