A brand new collection of David Bridgeman’s inimitable art stands colourfully in the reception of Evolving Islands and SteppingStones, two floors above Fidelity’s brand new Financial Centre on the West Bay Road/Esterley Tibbetts highway. Business Editor, Lindsey Turnbull tales a tour round the artwork with the artist himself and reports.
The stark white walls at the reception on the third floor of the new Evolving Islands building are the perfect quiet backdrop for David Bridgeman’s lively palette of colours, the clean modernist design and the absence of distraction an artist’s dream, just ripe for displaying interesting artistic pieces.
David says this particular commission, requested by Derek Serpell, of Kariba architecture and the Evolving Island group, was a marvelous opportunity.
“I had free reign to come up with five pieces,” he says. “I chose to paint oils on aluminium plates as I thought the metallic base would fit in well with the overall design and architectural philosophy of the space, with its clean lines and modern look.”
Derek is very happy with the result and says: “I have been a long time fan of David’s work and enjoyed watching it progress under various influences over the years. I felt very comfortable giving him and open brief for the commission and knew that he would produce a stunning showpiece collection for our new offices.”
The idea for the collection of paintings was derived from David’s previous art exhibition, held at the National Gallery earlier this year, in which he took part in a residency programme entitled A Day in the Life II. For this exhibition, David’s brief was to transform an entire room at the Gallery into his very own artistic space. David chose to carpet the floor with a sea of bluebells, painted the walls a stark black and trailed red carpet up the walls in an artistic installation composition marrying English woodland with Cayman’s once ubiquitous Red Birch trees.
“I got down to ground level and photographed what I saw through the mass of carpeted flowers,” he explains. “From that I created watercolour vignettes, experimenting with different compositions.”
The watercolours then became transposed onto the aluminium plates using oils. David created seven designs in all, from which Derek picked his five favourite pieces.
There is an interesting flow to each painting, with not only the theme linking each piece, but also a ribbon of untouched aluminium which winds and weaves its way through each piece of art. At the same time as he was creating his artwork, David says he had been reading a book on China’s Yangtze River, so he likened the flow of the aluminium to the flow of this majestic river.
Colours in the paintings reflect the original installation piece, with bold reds, earthy browns, deep and mysterious blacks and tender and delicate lavenders, purples and turquoises. There are also sketched pencil outlines and numbers deliberately left in the paintings, which David says links the artwork to its architectural environment.
He adds: “To further the construction and design theme I’ve also included collage into the work, using corrugated cardboard to create an old time Caymanian house. I’ve even drawn on the house in the style of the late Caymanian artist Miss Lassie.”
David says he has thoroughly enjoyed exploring the interlinking relationship between his English heritage and his Cayman home via such artwork and says that this is a recurring theme for other artists who have left their homeland to make another home elsewhere in the world.
“Bendell Hydes is a Caymanian artist who now lives in New York and is a good example of an artist who loves to incorporate their heritage into their work,” he says. “For me, it has been an interesting learning experience, using early memories as well as current surroundings as backdrops for artistic creation.”