It’s always an exhilarating moment for me when I add a new artist to the gallery. It makes the weeks of searching and ploughing through submissions worthwhile. This week was no exception when I welcomed the amazingly talented Charlotte Lethbridge to the gallery. Charlotte is a New Yorker through and through. Her quirky and somewhat irreverent humor and her personable yet enigmatic style scream New York as evidence by this fabulous quote I found from a recent interview with Art Crush:
“And I love putting colors together. My parents have awesome design and color sense. We love color like other families might love Michigan State or Jesus.”
Growing up in Yonkers, NY, Charlotte decided to seriously pursue painting at Bennington College, and eventually transferred to The School of Visual Arts in New York City where she studies under Nancy Chunn and Shirley Irons. She has participated in a number of group shows in New York and has been an active member of the Con Artist Collective since May 2014. In addition to art, she has an interest in interior design and textiles, no doubt inspired by her parents’ design sense.
Her most recent paintings represent an exercise in restraint. Instead of giving into the pull of a painterly and worked surface, she wanted to explore the process differently, looking at every mark and layer and taking the mistakes as they came. Simultaneously, she was studying scenes that were profoundly expressive and pronounced, but not in an immediate way. Rather than faces and figures, she focused on the positions of furniture and interacting lines. This enabled her to depict something she’d always wanted to express – a feeling that is simultaneously quiet and powerful. During 2014, Lethbridge specifically focused on swimming pools, titling the series “Sorry I’m Late.” This frequently used phrase captures the paintings’ familiarity and vulnerability and references the role time plays in the paintings, whether it’s standing still or creeping by. Absence is another key component of the series. Pools evoke nostalgia of swimming lessons and suburban summers, but left alone they have a compelling stillness, in which Lethbridge found endless depths. A quiet, empty moment caught in a setting that is commonly a place of gathering and action results in an uneasy combination of the familiar, the unseen and the uncertain. The images require the onlooker to doubt any notion of hospitality while being willing to dive in.
To see more of Charlotte’s work and to purchase any of her pieces, click here.