Installation view of Claire Bridge’s work <em>Somata chorus</em> 2021 (front) on display as part of the <em>Melbourne Now</em> exhibition at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne from 24 March – 20 August 2023.   Image: Tom Ross

Claire Bridge

Claire Bridge
(b. 1970, Shepparton, Victoria. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Claire Bridge is an artist working across ceramic sculpture, textiles, painting, video, sound and performance to explore notions of the body, gesture, voice and power, gendered violence, intergenerational legacies, and the labours of personal and cultural repair. Fusing the mythic and the grotesque, her visceral and colourful sculptural ceramics draw on her Indian Assamese and Anglo-European heritage to explore ideas of rupture and repair.

We are multitudes, 2022, takes its name from the line ‘I am large, I contain multitudes’ in American author Walt Whitman’s poem ‘Song of myself’. Made from raku clay, stoneware and steel and informed by theorists Karen Barad and Bayo Akomolafe’s concepts of entanglement and emergence, We are multitudes explores the idea of the human being as a porous vessel, questioning notions of the intact, the discrete and the defined. Drawing on a background in painting, Bridge contrasts dry, matt glazes with wetter textures, merging voluminous and seemingly burgeoning forms with a surface adorned with outgrowths and protrusions. The artist describes the work as a ‘sculptural conglomeration of hybrid beings and hyphenated becomings’ informed by personal biographies as much as by cultural mythologies.

Bridge has been the recipient of several grants and commissions, including the Footscray Community Arts Centre and West Space 2022 commission What I Wish I’d Told You, in collaboration with Deaf artist Chelle Destefano. She has undertaken artist residencies at Bundanon, New South Wales; the Art Vault, Mildura; Tarkine in Motion, Tasmania; and Maroondah Federation Estate in Victoria. Bridge is currently undertaking a Master of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Her work is held in public and private collections across Australia and New Zealand, the United States, the United Kingdom and Europe. Bridge’s work is also included in The Peregrine Collection, on Lacus Mortis, the Moon.