Best known, perhaps, for her colorful landscape collages, Cottonwood artist Birgitta Lapides is also widely recognized as a painter of stunning abstract canvases of enduring power. “Seeing the Unseen: New Paintings from Birgitta Lapides,” a solo exhibition of new work, opens on Oct. 7 from 5-8 p.m. at the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, during Jerome’s First Saturday Art Walk.
Combining a deft eye for color and an unusual aptitude for creating ever-new approaches to composition, Lapides’ new work displays a seemingly inexhaustible fund of novel ideas and colors that hint at early modernists painters such as Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. “Indeed,” Lapides acknowledges, “both masterful artists have had an influence on my work.”
“My background as a weaver and textile clothing designer,” Birgitta recalls, “also had an early influence on my current approach to painting. I lived for many years in an old coastal town in southern France, where I produced and sold my original designs of hand-woven and hand-painted garments from my shop in an old historic building. The brilliant colors of the near-by sea, the beauty of the sky and the deep tones of the earth along the Mediterranean entered indelibly into my creative imagination,” she confides. “This background lives unconsciously in my contemporary paintings.”
Lapides first learned weaving as a young woman in her homeland of Sweden. Later, she attended the prestigious L’Ecôle Superieur D’Architecture et L’Art Appliqué in Brussels. After that, she transferred to Pratt Institute in New York City where she received a degree in textile design. Even later, in France, she studied painting at the Ecôle des Beaux-Arts in Cannes.
Currently, Lapides lives with her husband in Cottonwood, and has been a resident of the Verde Valley since 1996.
She shows her work at the Sedona Arts Center, at Eisenart Innovations in Tiaquepaque, and at Zen Mountain Gallery in Jerome.
Additionally, Lapides has been a member of the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery since January 1997, and currently shows her hand-made ear rings, hand-woven jackets and vests, as well as her paintings at the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery.
“When I’m painting my landscape collages, I am creating an image that is in part drawn from my imagination, and in part drawn from my experience of living in Arizona; therefore, the result is seeing something that is both familiar and imaginative at the same time — it is seeing the familiar differently,” Lapides said. “My abstract paintings, on the other hand, are completely drawn from my imagination — meaning, they are the result of a visualization process that does not begin in the visible world. They really begin in my imagination; therefore, I’m seeing the unseen.”
“I see myself as an intuitive, experimental painter. I don’t want to know ahead how the painting will look when it is finished, because, for me, painting is a journey, a discovery, and that is what makes the process of painting so interesting to me.”
Seeing the Unseen: New Paintings from Birgitta Lapides opens Saturday, Oct. 7, with a reception for the artist from 5-8 p.m. at the Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery. Refreshments will be served.
The show runs through Nov. 29. Lapides’ website is www.birgittalapides.com
Jerome Artists’ Cooperative Gallery is located at 502 N. Main St. in the old Hotel Jerome
Open Daily from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. For more information, call 928-639-4276, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jeromecoop.com.