Bridgette Bogle

Updated: Apr 29, 2020


I’m really drawn to things that are worn down and convey the signs of human use.


Bridgette Bogle was born in Roswell, New Mexico in 1977; thirty years after the space aliens crashed there and caused such a ruckus. Bogle received her MFA from the Ohio State University in painting and drawing in 2003. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally, including, Sentimental and not, Rueff Gallery, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. In 2009, her Candy Store Grid at Dayton Visual Art Center consisted of a room full of 135 small paintings inspired by consumer culture. A selection from Candy Store Grid is installed at the Dayton Children’s Medical Center. Bogle was recently awarded an Artist Opportunity Grant from the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District. She currently serves as an Associate Professor in the Art Department of Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio.


This body of work is textile-based mixed media, including sewing, stretching and stuffing, in both a sculptural pillow format, as well as wall hangings. Many of the fabrics used to construct these pieces have a domestic origin: old bed sheets, wash clothes, used curtains, burp clothes, and even a recycled Halloween costume. Other components are repurposed from old paintings: squares of oil on canvas, paint rags stained with gouache. This varied familial and studio debris is sewn together and sometimes dyed or altered with paint.

As a parent of young twins, this body of work conveys my current feelings of precariousness about parenthood. I’ve certainly never felt the dangers of the world so acutely. Baby gates, crib bars, barriers, and straps give parents the illusion of security in a world where many of the threats that face our children are outside our control. A soft pillow can be comforting place for a child to lay their head, or a suffocation hazard.

My work contends with this duality by utilizing flimsy, hand-sewn materials, often constructed in a way that would be the opposite of protective. This body of work investigates stretching, padding, sewing, and, securing - methods for making meaning from my own anxieties. Trying (and sometimes failing) to construct a solid familial foundation is reflected in these works that seek to be stable and sound while sometimes being fragile and weak.

Stretched (Too Thin) - mixed fabrics - 2018

Your palette oscillates between candy-colored and time-stained. Can you elaborate on your use of color, particularly in its conveyance of meaning within the work?

My work is about human relationships and color has always felt like an avenue for insight into those connections. Color seems like the most direct link to catching a particular emotional quality, evoking memories and associations.

Most of my color choices have a very direct grounding in my everyday life, since the majority of my materials are scavenged from home. I’m really drawn to things that are worn down and convey the signs of human use. There’s an implied narrative there, and a relationship to the human body, we all tend to wear out the same spot in a pillowcase.

Yellow Flap - mixed fabrics, gouache - 2018

Many of your textile-based works reference the history of painting; the rectangular format is present and some pieces are even developed on painting stretchers. Can you talk about the relationship between fabric and paint?

Coming from the painting tradition, I previously explored tension, layering, and transparency through pigment. Fabric is currently my stand-in for those painterly qualities: it stretches, wrinkles, can be transparent or opaque. With fabric, I can physically embody the painting concepts that attract me. A transparent scrap of curtain can sit over a bumpy burp cloth the way a glaze of color would lay over an area of impasto paint.

Fabric also has a history and context in the broader domestic world. Stains, specifically, are pretty relevant to my daily life with four-year-old twins. Though they also speak to the history of the stain in painting: I’ve been reading the Ninth Street Women, so the whole section on Helen Frankenthaler has only added to my stain enthusiasm.

Big Softie - fabrics, gouache, and Poly-Fil - 2019

Much of your work lingers somewhere between being a functional object and an art object. Can you tell us about the sense of implied utility within many of the pieces?

The pillow work actually grew out of an idea for an installation. I was making artist books; and thought having a pile of pillows would be fun for people to be able to read the books on the floor, the way that we read books on the floor to our kids.

So I started making the pillows, and they started taking on personalities in a weird way, becoming too individualized to just be a pile of pillows that people were supposed to sit on. So despite initially coming from the idea of use and utility they thwarted me and decided they wanted to become distinctive objects.

Feelings Pillow - fabrics, gouache, sand, and Poly-Fil - 2019

Can you tell us about the value or importance you have found in exhibiting your work in multiple formats? For example, on the wall, in the round, salon-style, and painted directly on the wall.

In my case, trying to figure out how something’s going to work gives me a lot of excitement. It is such a thrill to make totally fragile, flimsy things that then have to exist in space. I find the problem solving of exhibiting work in multiple formats very energizing. We’ll see how that plays out in our current moment.

I’m very impressed with many of my artist friends who are dealing with the specific constraints of our situation, being homebound and scared and finding a way to work though it. Thank you for providing a platform for social engagement around artists and art-making at a time when we all especially need to feel connected.

Lifeguard - C-section belts, Poly-Fil - 2019

Your work incorporates materials such as bra straps and c-section belts. Can you speak to the gendered nature of these objects, particularly as they relate to material reuse and the domestic sphere?

Women have traditionally played the emotional support role in the family: keeping social ties strong, organizing schedules, and making sure needs are being fulfilled. The examples of the C-section and the bra strap, both of those things have so much humanity and strength due to their elasticity. These materials stretch and accommodate while also holding things together, holding things up.

Being pregnant with twins, I was impressed by my own body’s ability to change weight and shape. And now, as our children grow into their own distinctive personalities, I’m learning how to mentally and emotionally adapt while deciphering how to stretch time. Elastic is a good metaphor for motherhood.