I own a piece of Alexandra Eldridge. A piece of her art, yes, but a piece of the artist as well. It doesn’t entitle me to anything; I can’t hawk it on eBay or take it to dinner. It’s not a byproduct of purchase; it’s available to anyone: to every art tourist who ever tipped her head back to drink in the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and was called back to the world by an aching neck. It comes through giving oneself over to the full-court appreciation of a work of art and its creator. And it elevates the value of an artwork from a dollar figure to priceless.
I met Alexandra through my position at a Canyon Road Gallery. I came to know her through interviewing her in the course of writing publicity for an upcoming show. As we talked in her studio, surrounded by her paintings, drawings, books, quotes and other objects of inspiration, I began to shift from an analytical appreciation of her skills or the surface beauty of her paintings to a relationship with them. To be honest, when I stepped into her studio that afternoon, I thought her work was too comely for my taste. But then I saw MY painting, with a quote by Carl Jung feathered across its width: Passion that goes beyond the measure of love aims at the mystery of becoming whole.”
That, in a nutshell, is Alexandra.
In work and life, Alexandra goes beyond the measure to find her whole. Although this deeply trained daughter of two artist/writers is perfectly capable of pulling a fast trick on canvas or paper, that’s not her way. Earlier life experiences, including her years in a community based on the principles of William Blake, have driven her to embrace art as a spiritual discipline, requiring attention, “devotion, a connection to silence and the unknown and the possibilities of visionary experience.”
Alexandra’s work is feminine, lovely, delicate–but it is not pretty. Every painted piece holds underlayers of process in its depths. Every plump rabbit, voluptuous egg, house, tree, cup or swing is part of a complex iconic vocabulary whose sum offers a wordless challenge to respect what D.H. Lawrence termed “the struggling, battered thing which any human soul is.”
I bought that piece, although it was a mighty financial stretch, because it was an intersection of understandings. It explained Alexandra; it explained me. It explained that moment in my life. It was beautiful, with its luminous blues and demanding blacks, and contained that quote which, like every line of Jung’s I’ve ever read, I wasn’t quite sure I grasped, but which stretched me in the grasping.
To learn more about Alexandra’s life and views, read the complete interview by artist Predrag Pajdic. Or, watch the video footage taken by Joshua Maes during our recent studio visit. Alexandra’s work can be viewed locally at Nuart Gallery, on Canyon Road, and Victoria Price Art & Design in Pacheco Park.