Bette Ridgeway

Pushing the boundaries of light, color and design, Bette Ridgeway is best known for her large-scale, luminous poured canvases, which, in recent years have garnered notable international recognition.  The artist’s recognition is as much identified with the process of controlled paint-pouring and canvas manipulation as with the gem-like veils of transparent and translucent color which have characterized her work since the early 1980s.

Art Tour International Magazine has awarded Ridgeway “Top 60 Contemporary Masters 2017” and in 2016 she received the prestigious Leonardo DaVinci prize in Rome, Italy. In addition she won the Oxford University Alumni Prize at the “Art of the Mind” exhibition at the Chianciano Art Museum in Tuscany in 2012. She participated in the inaugural London Art Biennale in January of 2013 and at the Gagliardi Gallery in London in April 2013.

Trained as a watercolorist, the artist’s love affair with water media began as a youngster growing up in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York (only a few miles from Canada) where she was surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Informed by this early experience, she has traveled the globe, studying, painting, teaching and exhibiting her work, while embracing the customs and colors of the diverse cultures of Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, Mexico and South America. Ridgeway’s formal art studies at Russell Sage College, New York School of Interior Design and the Art Students League gave her the basic tools in the use of materials and technique. Her personal style, however, was a long time in development.

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Always an artist, she postponed her art career to raise her family and hold a job. While working in Washington DC as CEO of Very Special Arts, an educational affiliate of the JF Kennedy Center, which provides arts programs for disabled children and youth, she was fortunate to meet internationally acclaimed artist, Paul Jenkins.

This was a life-changing experience. Jenkins became a friend and mentor, encouraging the artist to work large and focus on color, space and time.  He once jokingly referred to his paintings as “chaos” and Ridgeway’s as “controlled chaos”.

Ridgeway took Jenkins’ advice and has spent the last 30 years developing her signature technique in which she uses many layers of thin, transparent acrylics on linen and canvas to produce a fluidity and viscosity similar to traditional watercolor. The effect is both sensual and powerful.

The artist’s paintings are featured in many books, among them: “International Contemporary Masters 2010” published by World Wide Art Books, “100 Artists of the Southwest,” published by Schiffer Books, “Masters of Today” and “100 Famous Contemporary Artists” both published by WOA Publishing, Stockholm Sweden.

The work is also included in many public and private collections including the John Deere Corporate Collection, the Federal Reserve Bank, Criteria Communications, the Mayo Clinic and Northwest College.  Actor, Tim Allen has two of Ridgeway’s paintings in his personal art collection.

In the catalog for the artist’s 2000 Millennium Exhibition in NYC, Laurence F. Johnson, AACR, the Curator of the John Deere Corporate Collection wrote, “Alpha” the centerpiece of the exhibition really stunned me. It went off in my head with a psychedelic big-bang, forming a universe of kaleidoscopic stop-frame action of a thousand frames a millisecond. A billion light years of searching sound filled the hemispheres of my mind”. The Deere Collection has acquired 3 large Ridgeway poured paintings over the years.

“Layering color on a variety of surfaces with transparent color combinations presents me with incredible challenges,” says Ridgeway, “along with very deep rewards”.

    Acrylic on Canvas 58″ x 97″ ...

    Acrylic on Canvas 54″ x 48″ ...

    Acrylic on Canvas 72″ x 50″ ...

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