EXHIBITION ON VIEW:
October 9 – November 20, 2021
Saturday, October 9, 4:00-8:00 pm
Civilian Art Projects presents “Bridget Sue Lambert & Jessica van Brakle: Personal Odyssey,” opening December 4, 2021 and on view until January 8, 2022 at the gallery’s temporary space at 1314 21st Street in the Dupont Circle / West End neighborhoods of Washington, DC.
The epic poem The Odyssey by Homer is a story about a long journey home. Bridget Sue Lambert and Jessica van Brakle interpret this journey like Sirens, using mysterious narratives to lure the viewer into an ambiguous and strange environment. Utilizing obsessively staged photographic sets and highly detailed, multi-layered collage, the works fragment scenarios derived from history, movies, fantasy and natural environments. Through the exacting placement of objects that hold secret significance to each series, the artists create complex new and highly personal worlds.
Lambert creates fictitious relationship scenarios where the human figure is noticeably absent yet actions are evident. Images contain miniature household items such as a broken glass jar, a boom box or uneaten pigs in a blanket. Indicating recent action, the careful placement of strange objects according to the artist, “reveal character and background into one’s natural habitat and suggest crucial clues about the real person.” Her most recent series, Now It’s Clear, takes its inspiration from Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (2009) in which a 1920s New Orleans waitress, with dreams of her own, kisses a prince turned into a frog by a witch doctor, and becomes a frog herself. She must find a way back to being human before it is too late.
Van Brakle’s work too explores strange, even mystical landscapes where “hybridized creatures have succeeded human civilization.” Mining Victorian literature and imagery images ebb and flow from a fluidity of ideas and concepts. According to the artist, “small islands form from remnants of garments, costumes, trained velvet, under-skirts, over-skirts, flounces and fringe. And it is from this elaborate attire that the plant-forms begin to grow into and through. They take on some attributes, even memories of the fallen, and the alien post-human hybrids are formed…these ‘ghosts’ from an alternate timeline sift through a fallen world of what was, and what might be.”
Exhibiting together for the first time in a two-person exhibition, this is a unique opportunity to view two very distinct bodies of work utilizing layers of media in intensive processes. The imagery transforms the room as its content holds a mirror to the other artist’s personal journey, reflecting back upon the other. Through this each maintain individuality and perspective while embracing interdependence and an undeniable connection.
Bridget Sue Lambert has exhibited publicly as part of the Dream Rooms exhibition at the National Building Museum, Washington, DC in 2016; ART ON THE ART BUS, Arlington Arts, Virginia in 2014; the Open Sky Project in Rosslyn, Virginia in 2011 at the DC ARTWALK and Public Garden, Washington, DC in 2006. She is a five-time recipient of the DC Artist Fellowship Grant (2006, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019) and received a 2004 Maryland State Arts Council Works on Paper grant, was a semifinalist for the 2008 Trawick Prize and a semifinalist for the 2008 and 2012 Janet and Walter Sondheim Prize. Lambert is in private and public collections including the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum Collection, the Wilson Building Art Collection, and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Art Bank. Lambert was part of the Artist Residency Program at the Arlington Arts Center in Virginia from 2010-2016. She was born and lives in Washington, DC and is represented by Civilian Art Projects.
Jessica van Brakle’s work has been exhibited extensively throughout the Washington metropolitan area. She participated in the Artist Residency Program at the Arlington Arts Center from 2011-2015 and was selected in 2010 for a two-year fellowship with Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC. In 2020 the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities awarded van Brakle an Individual Artist Grant as well as their NEA CARES ACT Grant, and Transformer Gallery awarded her the Artists Sustaining Artists Program Grant. In 2019 and 2008 she received the Individual Artist Grant for Painting from the Maryland State Arts Council, and she is a five-time recipient of the Art Bank Acquisition grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Her work is included in the collection of the U.S. Consulate, Dubai as well as many corporate collections such as Google, PNC, Hilton Worldwide, and Capital One Digital Headquarters. While working towards her MFA degree at The University of Maryland she was awarded a Graduate Program Assistantship that included extensive teaching experience. Van Brakle is a recent MFA graduate from The University of Maryland. She received her BFA in 2007 from The Corcoran College of Art & Design. She currently maintains an art studio in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC.