Sarah Bridgland’s diminutive paper creations inhabit the territory between sculpture and collage. Delicately fashioned out of second-hand ephemera collected from junk shops and fragments of Bridgland’s own printed media, they create spaces where the real and the imagined co-exist, where fact and fiction collide. Each piece is a myriad of textures, shapes and lettering, reflecting Bridgland’s interest in the formal concerns of the Russian avant-garde and Constructivism.
Bridgland is fascinated by the marriage of forms and her work celebrates this. Playful in approach, it explores the endless permutations of the cut out as a miniature type of reality. Recalling the mobile paper engineering of children’s pop-up books and toy theatres it exploits the cut-out’s potential to create a narrative, make-believe world, where Bridgland employs each piece as if it were an actor or a prop in a play. Rather than writing a story, though, Bridgland is interested in the way chance narratives are invoked through the arrangement of the cut-up material. Adopting a formal language, Bridgland organizes space by balancing the effects of different typefaces and graphics, textures and colours, to create a kind of three-dimensional drawing in which snippets of imagery and information invite the viewer to make their own associations, imaginary conversations between the juxtaposed forms.
Exploring the intimate link between object and memory, there is a simultaneous sense of both loss and preservation in Bridgland’s work. A desire to hold on to the past contends with a process that necessarily destroys it. Using forms and materials that are explicitly nostalgic, each element becomes part of a constructed history as time is re-arranged and the viewer is invited to re-experience the past in an entirely new way – half real, half imagined. The intimate scale of the work encourages daydream and reverie, heightened by wonder at its meticulous craftsmanship. Bridgland plays upon our desire to dream, creating miniature worlds made all the more enchanting by the comforting ordinariness of the their constituent parts before they spring collectively to life.