Pop-up pieces find a showcase
Louisa Bermingham’s latest collection of art numbers 14. Alive with colour, the pieces pop from the walls of &Partners, the tiny design store just off Front Street.
Ms Bermingham was invited to showcase her work as part of an artist series conceived by shop owner, Andrea Sundt.
“&Partners has this wonderful space and one of its guiding principles is to support and advocate for the visual arts in Bermuda and support local artists,” the painter said.
“We’ve been talking about this since before summer.
“I’m in a great position in that I teach art at Paget Primary 3½ days a week and the other day and a half is my own.
“In the studio, I’m always making art. It’s nice to have somewhere to show it. I am a bit in the habit of making it and stacking it up and [then wondering], should I show it somewhere?”
The plus side of her “habit” is that being constantly productive helps inform her art teaching and keeps her art fresh.
She has been working on her current exhibit since September. &Partners describes it as a “whimsical” collection that explores “form, colour and texture” and “shines a light on the beauty of everyday objects with a focus on still life and interiors”.
“I’ve always liked florals and gravitated to interior still life,” Ms Bermingham said. “[My goal is to create art that is] a pleasure to look at, something that evokes a sense of peace, happiness and interest. I want to make an image that will make me happy; something pleasant and cheerful, a happy object.”
She gets some of her ideas from the photographs she snaps when visiting friends’ homes or from interior shots of houses she finds online.
“I pick out various pieces and put them in [my art]. Sometimes it’s as simple as a chair in a corner — but if I put a plant with it or a cat on it, the chair comes alive.”
Added inspiration comes from Henri Matisse, the French artist celebrated for his fluid drawings and use of colour.
“Matisse is one of my all-time favourites,” the art teacher said. “He has all sorts of series [using] a very simple approach. He was from Bohain-en-Vermandois, a village known for its textile industry so it makes sense [that he would include textiles] in his images.
“I use fabric, texture, pattern — I get my pleasure from wondering how I can make [a piece] pop with just a bit of pattern.
“I do quite a lot of work on paper, where I draw in with pencil crayon on canvas and then force myself to pick up a different colour.
“Sometimes you can see a bit of the outline pop up and, occasionally, if you do it right, it will show up as its own mark as opposed to having it covered over by paint or negative space.”
With three children, the youngest of whom is four, what is most important is that she uses the time she has to her advantage.
“My time is not my time at all. With three children I have taught myself to do what I can in the time that I have.
“Years ago I came up with [the idea of a] small format. A 9x12 painting satisfies the need to get something quickly finished and, working in that time I [can achieve] as when I first started out, when I had the luxury of time and could do prolonged pieces on a much larger scale. These [paintings at &Partners] came out of trying to keep that studio practice.
“It’s almost a challenge to see what makes it interesting, the textures you can put together in the limited amount of time you have; I guess it’s the ultimate design challenge.
“There is a certain amount of pleasure and satisfaction that comes from working in a time constraint. Every time I do one [painting] I have about ten [ideas] that come to me. Each generates another ten or 15.”
• Louisa Bermingham’s pop up exhibit runs until December 7 at &Partners, 46 Par-la-Ville Road. Prices start at $275
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