On View: October 28 - December 2, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 28, 2017, 7-9pm
Please join Civilian Art Projects for Bridget Sue Lambert’s Seal the Deal, an exhibition about interior dialogue and the significant role of the seal animal totem in the artist’s journey. The exhibition opens to the public on Saturday, October 28, 2017 for a reception with the artist from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. The exhibition will be on view until December 2. Exhibition hours are Saturdays from 12:00 to 6:00 p.m., and by appointment.
Seal the Deal transforms the gallery space through scenes of domestic subversion, where miniatures become life-size and nostalgic playthings convey states of mind and journeys of consciousness. Works include framed photographic prints of Lambert’s signature narrative tableaus arranged and photographed in a decaying, modernist dollhouse; an interactive, magnetic wall installation; and a seal totem sculpture. Native Americans believed that animal guides visit us at different times in our lives; for Lambert, the seal arrived to share important messages of challenge and encouragement, toward a process of individuation. Like Joseph Campbell’s quest of the hero, Lambert’s visual clues hint at individuation and the processes and practices aiding personal and spiritual growth.
For the Seal the Deal print series, Lambert constructed vignettes to, according to the artist, “allow cinematographic moments to unfold while suggesting a living narrative. Selected objects, sparse rooms and atmosphere echo desire, fear, destruction, hope, love, faith, anticipation and expectation.” Shiny new miniature objects like a bright orange Adirondack chair next to a tiny margarita wait for someone to take a seat and view a picture on the wall of a figure reclining on the beach; the image of repose and relaxation is placed just above the rust creeping up the wall, suggesting the inescapable nature of time, age, and neglect. A beautiful beach scene background graces broken, opened windows; a small plant arrangement and the bust of a plastic toy deer hang on a tarnished, stained wall reminding the viewer of life, death, and a push toward the light of understanding.
By mixing imagery of decay and abandonment with images of hope and inspiration, the artist shares ideas of empowerment and, through the help of her totem, the seeking of balance among the unavoidable clashes along the path -- particularly those between male and female. Each object, and its placement, is significant to the overall body of work and the image itself. According to the artist, “Just one decoration among a vast collection of trinkets, one single object has the power to beautify the whole room. Strange objects reveal character and background…seeing one’s natural habitat, surrounded by the things that matter the most to them give important, crucial clues to the real person.”
Lambert is letting us into a personal interior space as a voyeur and participant. She invites the public to become a part of the work through an interactive installation where she enlarged the circus bedroom section of the dollhouse and created magnets of objects for visitors to place in the room, creating their own interior space and narrative.
The seal totem, an ever-present and literal figure in the gallery, urges its chosen people to learn lessons that will help them to better navigate both the inner and outer worlds; to go with the flow rather than be drowned by it. Seal the Deal suggests hope through decay, and the possibility of beauty and repair through reflection and help from sacred sources.
Lambert’s work has been exhibited publicly as part of the Dream Rooms exhibition at the National Building Museum, Washington, DC; DC ARTWALK and Public Garden, Washington, DC; the Open Sky Project in Rosslyn, Virginia; and ART ON THE ART BUS, Virginia. She is a three-time recipient of the DC Artist Fellowship Grant (2006, 2016, 2017), a semi-finalist for the 2008 Trawick Prize, a semifinalist for the 2008 and 2012 Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize, and received a 2004 Maryland State Arts Council Works on Paper grant. Her work 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 lives in Washington, DC.