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Rae Bridgman, Invisible Cities

Local artist Rae Bridgman was inspired by Italo Calvino's text Invisible Cities to create a series of intricately embroidered crazy quilts, which will be on display at the University of Winnipeg's Gallery 1C03 from November 6 - 29, 2003. Bridgman's exhibit, also titled Invisible Cities, opens on Thursday, November 6 from 4 - 6 p.m., followed by an artist's talk on Friday, November 7 at 12:30 p.m.

In Calvino's work of fiction, the young Venetian explorer Marco Polo (1254-1324) entertains the ruler Kublai Khan (1216-1294) with stories about the cities of his vast empire. The narrator's descriptions of these places are literally fantastic-there are sister cities of the dead buried beneath living cities, labyrinth cities, colourless cities, cities made entirely of solid earth-all identified by a female name.

Bridgman marries her concerns as a social anthropologist researching urban environments with her artistic inclinations to create nine quilts constructed from reclaimed materials and photo-based imagery, embellished with handstitched embroidery. Each quilt is accompanied by a bookwork in which the artist quotes a passage from Calvino's text that describes the corresponding city.

Rae Bridgman is Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Research in the Department of City Planning in the School of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. Her book Safe Haven: The Story of a Shelter for Homeless Women was published by University of Toronto Press earlier this year. Included among her varied research interests are child-friendly cities and participatory planning and design. A practising artist for more than two decades, Bridgman turned to the creation of quiltworks in 1997, after focusing on mask imagery and sculptural installations for many years. She has been awarded numerous grants for her art from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Manitoba Arts Council. Invisible Cities was first exhibited at the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto in 2002. Bridgman's next solo exhibition, Hidden Cities, is a continuation of Invisible Cities, and will appear at Winnipeg's Craftspace Gallery in May of 2004.

Gallery 1C03 gratefully acknowledges the support of the Manitoba Arts Council.

For further information, please contact Acting Art Curator Jennifer Gibson at 204.786.9253.

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