I met the artist Kay Bridge three years ago in a painting master class with Leigh Hyams. At that time, Kay was beginning to work on canvas on a large scale. As I struggled to make something, “look like it is supposed to,” Kay let loose, and made it look like it’s supposed to feel.
Her work is what might be called outsider or naïve. Some call it visionary art. Her juxtapositions of historical references and dream imagery flow in an uninhibited stream of consciousness that results in images I can only envy. Kay is not afraid of color. She does whatever the painting needs. For the painting Abe Lincoln and Adam and Eve, Kay felt it needed a grid pattern, “So,” she said at her February 5th opening, “I added a pineapple.”
At 72, she’s tall, striking and outspoken. A few years ago, she began painting, and she’s filled the old house with her canvases, brightly colored statements about celebrity, prejudice, bears and modern life. In the front sitting room, Rosa Parks and Annie Oakley share space near the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court. In upstairs bedrooms, George Washington crosses the Delaware River on the backs of slaves, and Cleopatra hangs out with Santa Claus.
Kay works in charcoal and acrylic on unstretched drop cloths that measure roughly 5 x 5′. They are big. About twenty of them are on view this month through March 11, at the Visual Arts Gallery at Mount Hood Community College. None of the paintings are for sale. Kay wants to keep them together as a cohesive body of work. In my estimation, the work belongs in a blue-chip gallery or museum collection.
Do me a favor. Go to this show and let me know what you think.
She should be discovered! Tell the Saatchi Gallery to get on it!