The work on this show, Everything Leaves a Trace…, arises from studio time spent in the mourning and adjustment that followed the death of the artist’s mother and family matriarch in early 2022.
Some of Bridget’s early memories are centred around crafting clothes for her toys under her mother and grandmother’s guidance and these activities were fundamental to the bond she had with both women. The co-option of her mother’s sewing basket as a visual starting point and metonym provided a consistent theme for the works.
Coupled with the intimacy of the sewing is a pervasive memory of long family road trips through the remote South African landscape, establishing rich memories and powerful images that inform the context of many of the pieces.
These interactions give rise to a complexity of relationships around the craft of sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, the formal concerns of the landscape and the sentimental content suggested by the activities shared by the three women. Often complex, the business of mending, darning, picking and unpicking, re-stitching, unravelling and the language of the old handcraft culture, coupled with the expressive possibilities arising from drawing, painting, and collaging, served as a rich and stimulating impetus for dealing with the intricacies, complexities and contradictions that characterise family life.
While it is sometimes true that the works are “based on mistakes” (Adrian Genie, 2023), the artist’s engagement involves a process from chaos to completion through a series of decisions, erasures, scratchings-out and placings-in, unravelling and unpicking till a conclusion is reached that re-positions the original images in ways that can evoke more than just a record of the constitutive elements. Ultimately it is the viewers who are invited to make their own sense.
It should be pointed out that Bridget was never very skilled at handcraft and early school reports suggest that she “take care to work more neatly.” She no longer attempts to sew according to pattern instructions.