Marissa Bridge is an artist whose work has always been inspired by nature. Influenced by both Western and Eastern stylistic traditions, many of her images portray flowers and plants as studies in spirit, form, and pattern. She typically works in series, as a method of investigation and as a meditative process. In addition to painting in oil and watercolor, she creates 3-D mixed media pieces, and produces etchings, lithographs and photos.
Bridge has exhibited her work across the US and in Turks and Caicos. Her most recent solo exhibition was held at the Kathryn Markel Gallery in Bridgehampton, NY, in January of 2016. Titled, "A Bridge in Conversation", this exhibit was curated by Kathy Zeiger, and presented an overview of the artistic themes Bridge has created over the years.
Drawn to art from her early childhood in Melrose Park, IL, Marissa went on to receive her formal training as a painter at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York City. Her first body of professional work was nature-themed. Inspired by her experiences while scuba diving, she first achieved recognition for her underwater landscapes, called “Underseascapes”, which relied on a variety of techniques, including oil paint on gold leaf, to capture the mystery and luminosity of the underwater world. After a series of gallery shows and museum exhibits, Marissa’s growing painting career was sidelined when her first husband, Allan Bridge, a fellow artist and scuba diver, was killed in a scuba diving accident in 1995.
After that tragedy, Marissa gave up painting Underseascapes, although she continued to create artwork, and received numerous painting commissions. She and her second husband, Joe Lamport, spent their summer weekends in Long Island, and at times she painted the local trees and flowers. One day, her sister gave her a potted cyclamen as a gift, and Marissa decided to draw it. Something shifted inside her, and it was the beginning of a new direction in her life. She stated that when her devotion to flowers began, “she finally crawled out of the sea and into the garden.”
Flower imagery continues to be the theme of Bridge’s work today. It has evolved over time from sparingly realized portraits of individual flowers, to a 36-painting series titled, “The Journey”, depicting the entire life cycle of an orchid, to the “Mummers” series of flowers depicted in organic grid-like compositions, and currently to the mixed-media pieces called “Centers”.
In her most recent work Bridge has reconnected with her childhood love of materials, utilizing wire, twine, stone, seeds, modeling paste, gesso, paper, papier mache and paint to create center-like forms on square panels. They allude to flower forms, but are also abstractions. It’s an exciting new direction.
Marissa spends most of her time in East Quogue, NY, where she is surrounded by inspiration on a daily basis, although she still maintains a studio in New York City.