Artists & Designers
Linda Ridgway (b. 1947)
Dallas-based artist Linda Ridgway is best known for lyrical bronze sculptures that are autobiographical in nature, but also speak to more universal female experiences. Her works are collected by major art museums in Texas and beyond, and her gallery presence reflects the lucrative production of a well-established artist. Ridgway's work creates delicate balances and binaries exploring general themes of femininity, tradition, and heritage, but also her own personal identity as artist, mother, and woman. She counters the fleeting nature of memory and the inherent disintegration of organic materials by casting her works in bronze, preserving both the object and memory indefinitely.
Born in 1947 in Jeffersonville, Indiana, Ridgway earned a B.F.A. from the Louisville School of Art in Anchorage, Kentucky, and went on to earn an M.F.A. from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her investigation of issues concerning personal memories and the cultural legacy of women often manifests itself in forms found in nature such as vines, leaves, and flowers, as well as bronze versions of delicate objects traditionally associated with women, such as lace and textiles. Her early education in and training in printmaking is evident in the fine, gestural lines of her sculptures, that help maintain a sense of intimacy even in her large-scale pieces.
In all her work, Ridgway makes plain her respect for minimalist art, a movement pioneered in the 1960s by artists such as Donald Judd, Carl Andre, and Dan Flavin, who sought to reduce art to its very essence by using industrial manufacturing techniques and products to fashion simple structures of steel, wood, and fluorescent light. Even more influential were the postminimalist sculptures of Eva Hesse and Joel Shapiro, who reoriented Ridgway's thoughts on what sculpture is, and could be, by introducing overt process techniques and personal subject matter into minimalism's basic geometries. Other artists crucial to Ridgway's development were the Swiss modernist sculptor Alberto Giacometti and the American painter Agnes Martin, in both of whose work Ridgway found a degree of emotional intensity expressed with a refined minimum of artistic means.
Whether sculpture, installation, or works on paper, Ridgway's work suggests episodes from the artist's personal history. Rather than illustrate such episodes, however, Ridgway prefers to leave interpretation up to her viewers, allowing room for their own thoughts and emotions to complete the meaning. Ridgway's work demands our intense concentration and presence; her works are at once surprising and personal, revealed slowly to patient and meditative viewers. Once heard, her works speak of things both private and universal, quietly preserving organic form and memory.
Heather Bowling, Digital Collections Content Coordinator, 2018
Gallery text, Linda Ridgway: A Survey, The Poetics of Form, 1997.
http://www.lindaridgway.com/bio.html, Accessed June 19, 2018.
Watch a lecture by Ridgway given at the Nasher Sculpture Center.