Bridgette Ashton, Loddiges Miscellanea: a walking tour of Hackney, 2013, printed paper, 84x59cm
Bridgette Ashton's work looks at places and narratives, sometimes real and at other times invented. Her mostly small-scale objects, drawings and photographs are often flagrantly wistful, celebrating pastiche and melancholy while simultaneously identifying ambiguous networks and relationships. At times her work retains indications of materiality and process, sometimes alluding to the obsessiveness of the hobbyist.
For Wintergarden Ashton has devised a walking tour of the site of Loddiges nursery, the largest hothouse in Europe, which once stood near to Sutton House. On Saturday 9 November 2013 she led a walk to the site. A free poster/map is available in the gallery to allow you to take your own tour.
Bridgette Ashton, Monkey Puzzle, 2009, papier mâché, glitter, soap, found object, 20x13x13cm & Bridgette Ashton, walking tour to the site of Loddiges Nursey, 09.11.13.
Ashton's other work in Wintergarden is situated in the Victorian Parlour and focuses on a favourite of the Victorian garden, the monkey puzzle tree. Monkey Puzzle Tree is a sculpture that celebrates the familiar suburban domesticity of budgerigars and these distinctive trees and seeks to emphasise their splendid incongruity. While Monkey Puzzle Tree Presentation Case starts with an unknown woman at the Parthenon in Athens holding a red bag and waving to the camera. Ashton’s replica bag reveals the contents to be a kit for the ceremonial planting of monkey puzzle tree seeds at popular tourist spots around Europe.
Bridgette Ashton, Monkey Puzzle Tree Presentation Case, 2011, mixed media zip up case, 50x30x4cm (closed size) and accompanying photograph.
Ashton's book, 103 Monkey Puzzle Trees of Kent, presents 103 specimens growing in mostly domestic gardens in the Garden of England. The images were collected and collated over two years with the help of the public. Participants responded to posters, tweets and call outs by emailing images, addresses or map references. The book is available form the Sutton House shop for the duration of the exhibition and from Transition Gallery and our online shop
Ashton currently lives and works in Cornwall. Her solo exhibitions include Margate Subterranea, The Davis Museum, CRATE, Margate, 2013; Monkey Puzzle Tree Club II, KCB, Whitstable Biennale Satellite, 2012; Don’t Throw It All Away (Our Love), Utrophia Project Space, London, 2012; New Work, Plymouth Arts Centre (in conjunction with British Art Show 7), Plymouth. Group exhibitions include From Archive to Book, SIFest 22 SAVIGNANO SUL RUBICONE, Italy 2013; L.I.E., The Newbridge Project, Newcastle, 2013; E Book Show, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, 2013.