Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Somerville’s Meghann Brideau: A Painter and Curator who goes underwater and to outer space.
By Doug Holder
Meghann Brideau paintings do not depict ordinary space. They deal with life in the depths of the ocean and the vast expanse of outer space. Brideau, 27, is a native of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., and now a resident of Somerville. She is also a manager at the popular Bloc 11 Café in Union Square, and the curator for art exhibits at both Bloc 11 and the Diesel Café in Davis Square, Somerville. I talked with Brideau on a sunny and spring-like day at Bloc 11, (at my favorite table), next to the wall that displays the whimsical work of Somerville artist Sabina Kozak.
Brideau, a graduate of Syracuse University, told me that her own paintings are influenced by the artists Timothy Basil Ering and Leo Lionni, noted children's book illustrators. And indeed, Brideau’s paintings of an enigmatic octopus, her depiction of a starfish waving with long and languid arms, speak to the child in all of us.
Brideau, who previously lived and worked in London, England, finds that Somerville is just the right spot for a painter. She delights in the community of artists, and participates in the Somerville Arts Council’s Open Studios event every spring. She has a studio on Joy St., a stone’s throw from the café. The studio houses glassblowers, furniture restorers, photographers, etc…
Brideau used to be a teacher at Tufts New England Medical Center before she came to the café. When the old curator left for parts unknown management approached her about the curatorship. Since then Brideau has exhibited any number of Somerville artists. The list is long and includes Peter Bertand, who has beautiful and moody photographs of the old mills of Massachusetts. Other artists who have or will appear are: Torie Leigh and Ben Kauffman, to name just a few.
If you, dear reader, are a painter and want to exhibit at the Diesel or Bloc 11 be advised the waiting list is long. Brideau is not an elitist but she wants some degree of professionalism: a portfolio, framed and mounted works, and an exhibit or two under one’s belt.
Brideau is an unaffected artist. There does not seem to be any hint of the rarefied posturing one might associate with a curator, and other creatures of the arts milieu. Brideau embraces our rich artistic community, and it gives her a collective hug right back.
For more information about Brideau go to: