Christina Ridgeway (PlantieBee) is an artist based in southern Sweden. Her current body of work created for her solo show “What’s Bred In The Bone” at The Slice Of Life Gallery in Malmö, Sweden consists of paintings focusing on themes that are biblical and factions that are shrouded in mystery and mysticism. Such themes include Lilith, Adam’s first wife before Eve, and the ever so secretive, The Illuminati. When asked about her work, Christina had this to say:
I have seen many pop surrealist artists use women as their main inspiration. You use women almost exclusively. Is there something about women that you find more appealing than working with male figures? As much as I would love to paint male figures someday – I think that the reason behind my painting woman in the majority of my work is that I often paint a story of some kind. Since the story is coming from myself or my perspective it is natural for me to use the female figure. Women are in many ways fragile and spellbinding by looks alone but they also have this hidden strength that emanates from within and can shine through the eyes. When I think of the narrative I wish to paint, the feeling and the emotion, it is always through a woman. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.” Each of my girls is a reflection of me, even if in the smallest of ways. A lot of what I paint is a dialogue with myself, I am not so forward or open with my real thoughts to those around me but my art is if you look closely enough. And as a woman myself it is natural for me to portray that dialogue as such!
Your current body of work has a magical quality. It is almost as if these women practice a form of Wicca. The women seem to radiate some form of supernatural energy. Many women in Wiccan circles are attracted to nature as it connects them to a higher plane of existence. In a similar way, are your women seeking this higher form of existence through nature and magic? What a wonderful keen insight! Funny enough, Wiccan was the only religion I ever got into. I grew up around the forest and it was my sanctuary – and yes I believe a true source of magic. However, it feels quite often that the connection between the characters in my paintings and the scene around them are nearly subconscious for me. I work a lot on gut instinct if you will. Looking at them now I think in many they are seeking some sort of solace or power from their surroundings – but in several, I feel like they’ve already obtained it! There is something much rawer and comforting that comes from a natural scene. I feel my creations belong there more often than not.
By the titling of your current pieces and by the way they have been portrayed, I feel that the series may be influenced by the construction of the Tarot. Do you find the tarot influential? Does it hold any significance to your work? Again, I love Tarot cards. I have actually been teaching myself to read them recently! The cards in the deck can be quite powerful in their messages and their imagery – and the paintings from my solo show I had wanted the same sort of prolific impact. Paintings like “The Victim” looks quite like a Tarot card (The 4 of wands) but that was more or less a coincidence! So much of what I paint is subconscious. I rely a lot on my first instinct of how a painting should be. It isn’t until later when I have to dissect my work that I realize the little nuances and the parallels to things like Tarot cards. But as you have rightly seen – a lot of what I paint draws upon magic, (super) natural and more ethereal influences. As much as I can I try to create that feeling in everything I make! We all were once more connected to the Earth and the spiritual forces of the world in days gone by. Modern reality is quite bland and heavy in contrast, so I create the world, as I would like to believe it should be.
Christina has exhibited in various galleries throughout the world including Auguste Clown Gallery in Melbourne, Australia and at The Distinction Gallery in Escondido, California. If you would like to view more of Christina Ridgeway’s work, visit her website or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.