Approved: 08.08.2014

Nessie Stonebridge


Approved: 08.08.2014

Artist Statement

Nessie Stonebridge’s art depict wild birds paused in crystalized units of time, their wings, talons and beaks contorted in frozen muscular action. Her brooding charcoal drawings and electric oil paintings capture the intensity of the bare life of animals. The iconography here is certainly loaded. For example, any depiction of a swan will invoke the Greek myths of Leda and its erotic charge in Renaissance art. Or, we could say that imagery of avian flight inevitably suggests the photographic motion studies of the 1870s (Etienne-Jules Marey, Eadweard Muybridge), which prefigures cinema and nature documentaries. These citations may help place Stonebridge’s work within human culture, but we must look elsewhere, to the non-human, to engage with them properly.


Stonebridge’s work draws on observations from life, not from art history books. She lives on a bucolic farm in Norfolk, her studio surrounded by fields, water, and avian passers-by. Nature here is torrid and calamitous. Recently, she spotted a swan with its head chopped off; nearby was a dead fox. It is the brutality of this encounter that fascinates Stonebridge, not the folksy obscenity that it conjures: namely, the possibility of witchcraft or animal sacrifice in modern Norfolk. The dead swan and fox are evidence of mortality, of everyday death in the animal kingdom. It is this mortality that excites Stonebridge’s imagination, and it may be no surprise that she was once an enthusiastic rock climber, a sport that dramatizes the vertiginous balance between life and death. Alluding to this love of climbing, Stonebridge often binds her paintings with climbing rope, as if keeping them from spinning off.


Like the climber resisting gravity, her paintings and drawings dream of flight. But while her vortex-like works appear to spin out into space, it is their slowness that is, perhaps, fundamental. Her painting and drawing process involves a durational labour of accretion and deletion. She applies paint or charcoal, removes and layers it, expending hours and weeks in a meditative focus on line, form or colour. Her works are ultimately the work of a walker, maker and observer. Stonebridge, like the rest of us, seems to love birds because they live and die at a velocity that we can only marvel at.  

CV & Education



Lives and works in London and Norfolk





2003                        Post Graduate Dip, Painting, City & Guilds, London

1994                        BA (Hons) Sculpture, University of Hertfordshire



Selected Exhibitions

2019                     Cley19 Borderlines Norfolk

2018                     An Appitite for Risk The Cut, Suffolk ( Curated by Amanda Geitner)

2018                     Bird after Bird The steel rooms Brigg 

2018                     Inheritance Norwich Castle Open Norwich Norfolk

2017                     Bird after Bird  GroundWork Gallery Kings Lynn Norfolk (group show)

2014                     ‘British Birds’ CARSLAW St* LUKES London (solo)

2013                      Volta, Basel.CARSLAW St* LUKES Two person presentaion

2012                      UNTITLED, Miami

2011                      ‘100’, Langford120, Melbourne, Australia

2011                      Charlie Smith (Group)London

2011                        “Polemically Small” The Torrance Art Museum, California.

2010                     “Black – A Referential Void”, Madder139 London

2010                     Tightly Drawn, Playhouse Yard, London 

2009                     Postures of Delirium (Solo), Madder139, London

2007                     Under the Arches, Berlin

2006                     A little house in Peckham, Peckham London

2006                     Life2, Microsoft Corporation, London

2006                        Size Matters, Madder Rose, London  (solo show)

2005                        Insignificunt, Rosy Wilde Gallery, London (solo)

2005                        Ravenous fish and tasty plankton, The Empire, Vyner Street, London

2004                         WDen Haag, Holland

2003                        Fresh Art, London (solo show)





2013-2014            Gore Point, Norfolk

2007                        Celeste Art Prize (shortlist) (catalogue)

2001                        Arts Fellowship, Digswell Arts Trust, Hertfordshire

2001                        East Open





                          Brix Smith, London

                          Shell Collection, London

                        Sidley Austin, London

Two Temple Gardens, London

Turner Collection, Manchester




                            2014 , Joe Turnbull, Garageland Review, May 2014

                           Art review of the year - adigest of 2014

                          2007  Jane Neal, Saatchi Daily Magazine, Emerging Artist of the Week


 2008 Phillips Art Expert, Phillips de Pury

 2009 Roy Exley, Postures of Delirium

 Modern Edition,  Contemporay Abstraction by UK Artists.