Client: The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group
Location: Tyson, United States
Completion date: 2018
Artwork budget: $160,000
Rockefeller Group and Meridian Group
Judy J. Sherman
Art. At Work. DC
Bette Ridgeway has just completed her largest and most significant work (to date!). The corporate commission from The Meridian Group and Rockefeller Group with Gensler architects measures 15’h x 21’w – a stunning, highly visible, “poured” painting on canvas. Pushing the boundaries of scale, light, color and design, Ridgeway is known for this process, which she terms “layering light.”
Ridgeway was selected to create the signature artwork for The Boro Building, located in the heart of The Boro, a premier, multi-phase development in Tysons Corner, Virginia.
Although Ridgeway was given full artistic freedom, the artist, Art. Art Work, Meridian Group and Gensler all worked closely together throughout the project. Due to the highly visible nature of the placement, everything had to be exact. The timing was down to the hour of installation.
The title of the piece, "Arc of the Imaginals," was inspired by the chemical process that the caterpillar undergoes just before bursting into a butterfly. Imaginal cells become murky, uncontrolled and chaotic during this miraculous time. The arc is represented by the white foamy passages in the painting. The transformed butterflies arc to the upper right where they take flight from the canvas.
Ridgeway speaks on the concept behind the project, “This process touched me as our society is undergoing great and dynamic change. I believe that the outcome can be very positive as we free ourselves from the old way of thinking and being, and step into a new chapter of freedom, compassion and beauty.”
Art. At Work. in District of Columbia graciously presented Ridgeway for this project.
For eight straight months, Ridgeway and her team of four assistants worked full time to create this masterwork, an engineering feat, which required constant innovation, research and development. The process of pouring on canvas is painstaking, in that each layer is poured separately. Ridgeway uses Golden Fluid paint and layers color over color to achieve a limpid suffused quality that resembles watercolor. The pouring process requires a complex set up. The large canvasses are suspended on supports of varying heights, then meticulously draped and formed for each individual pour.
Until the piece was completed, Ridgeway and her team had never seen the massive piece in its entirety. Due to the immense scale of the artwork, limitations in the work space, and the complex nature of her pouring technique, the artwork was created in sections, with parts of the canvas rolled at all times. When the entire painting was hung to view in its totality for the first time, the Ridgeway
Throughout the four decades of her artistic career, Ridgeway’s artwork has been exhibited, collected, written about and lauded. In 2018, she enjoyed fourteen exhibitions and has been featured in fifteen global publications. Her work has always been, and continues to be, about seeking new frontiers – and this commission is in furtherance of that awareness.