Trudy Montgomery's vibrant, expressionist paintings portray an active vitality and freedom of spirit. Her tendency towards pure, bold colour - often on an immersive scale - is influenced by the light and space of California where she lived for 14 years. She draws inspiration from her travels, both inner and outer, and sees her work as spiritual landscapes depicting the unseen - an inner experience of the world. Working from a meditative state of action, she uses the possibilities of paint to convey in the abstract what is, so often, inexpressible via words.
Trudy was born in Bristol, England in 1970 and has studied in the UK, France and USA. Following a degree in political science, she worked in technology companies in Silicon Valley during the dotcom era. Embracing her passion for modern and contemporary art, she deepened her studies of art history and painting on the West Coast, founding a boutique art advisory firm, Blue Tangerine Art, in 2005 to help new and experienced collectors source contemporary art. Realising she was looking for a painting she had herself yet to make, Trudy began painting full time in 2009. Her work has since been exhibited in London, Los Angeles and Berlin. She returned to the UK in 2012 and now works from her studio in West Cornwall.
Trudy's artistic influences include American and British abstract painters including Richard Diebenkorn, Helen Frankenthaler, Franz Kline, Georgia O'Keefe, Howard Hodgkins, Terry Frost, Patrick Heron, Peter Lanyon and Sandra Blow. She credits her most influential teacher as Robin Child, whose own professor studied under Walter Sickert.
“The abstract is often the purest form for me to express the inexpressible.” Georgia O'Keeffe
For me, this holds true. Abstraction defies our - often compulsive - urge to identify, label and describe everything we see in an attempt to ‘know’ it as a way to eliminate uncertainty and doubt. And yet, life is ultimately unknowable, and its very mystery is what makes it so magical.
As an abstract painter, I dwell in a place of not knowing, which I experience as freedom.
In the formative period where I became a painter, I spent 14 years in California where the light and space of the West coast infused my work. Stimulated by the creative spirit and freedom of expression I found there, I started to use bold vivid colours against the backdrop of intensely blue skies and spacious landscapes.
This is encapsulated in the Union series, a reference to yoga and its sanskrit meaning to join or unite our ego-self with our divine Self or infinite Spirit. In the search for a dynamic balance and harmony between opposing forces, these paintings reference action and quiet reflection. They also seek to distill the energies of masculine and feminine to their essential symbols, often with a strong vertical and a V- or U-shaped vessel.
In early 2012 I was accepted onto an artist residency at the Sanskriti Foundation in New Delhi, India. My stay there inspired the Yantra series, which are delicate paintings on silk representing the mystic geometric symbols dedicated to the all-powerful Goddess Durga and the ten Mahavidyas or Wisdom Goddesses in the Hindu and Tantric traditions. Yantras are still used in devotional worship today along with their accompanying invocations or mantra to call forth the blessing of the Goddess, each one governing a different dimension of consciousness. The creation of every new yantra is seen as a consecration of metaphysical space with its own power field, and as such they are seen as an expression of the Divine Mother herself. This experience naturally led into the Sacred Geometry paintings, which incorporate the ribbons of colour to surface more prominently in later works. For me, these symbolise strands of wisdom received on the intuitive plane, beyond thought patterns.
Returning to my roots in the UK later that same year, I felt a new sense of belonging. The scale of my canvases increased and my palette retained the colours and vibrancy of the West coast, notably in Love Knows No Limit, Gaia, Diffusion, Dreamcatcher, and Prism. My work transitioned from replicating and abstracting the surface of the landscape to a deeper expression of the feelings and energetics of the land itself. For me, the land is alive and now my painting feels like a direct collaboration with the Earth Mother.
My series of Meditations emerged after a second visit to India in 2015 and, specifically to Arunachala in Tamil Nadu. Gradations of tonal colour, which can be related to layers of consciousness, provide a view into and of the Earth, from above and within. These pristine landscapes with clear depths can be read as spiritual landscapes offering a sense of the purity and refinement of the land untouched by human contact.
In 2017, I completed a new series of work, The Mothers & The Daughters, the offspring of original abstract paintings created while I was pregnant - a highly potent and creative time. While derivative of the parent works on canvas and in the same vivid palette, these new works offer something new: symmetry and a kaleidoscopic mysticism that evokes a sense of being at the threshold of another realm. Presented as digital c-prints mounted on aluminium, these painterly photographs provide the viewer with an experience that is at once both ancient and futuristic.
Newlyn School of Art, Newlyn, Cornwall, UK: one year artist mentoring course (2016); professional practice course (2017)
Robin Child, Lydgate Art Research Centre, UK: Abstract Painting (2014-15-16, 2007-08)
Otis School of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA: Painting, Drawing (2009)
Exeter University, UK: Bachelor of Arts (Hons) 2:1 Economics & Political Development (1989-1993) with ERASMUS year at IEP in Aix-en-Provence, France (1991-92)
Residencies & Awards
Artist Mentoring / Informal Residency, Angus MacDonald: NSW, Australia (2013)
Artist Residency (Painting), Sanskriti Foundation, New Delhi, India (2012)
First Prize for A Work On Canvas, Pacific Palisades Art Association, Los Angeles, CA. Judged by Head of Painting, Santa Monica Art College, CA (2010)
Please see Exhibitions page
Press / Media
Cornwall Today, Dazzling West Coast Colour (August 2017)
Exclusively British, In The Abstract (July / August 2017)
Cornwall Living magazine, Masters In The Making, cover and feature article by Mercedes Smith (January 2017)
Bath Life magazine, How to Buy Art (January 2015: pp 39-44)
Huffington Post, Tate Britain's Turner Prize 2010 Awarded to Sound Sculptor for the First Time (2010)
Artworks Magazine, Top 10 Rules for the New Collector (2007)
Collections & Commissions
Trudy’s work is held in private collections worldwide and in the following corporate collections:
Hard Rock Cafe, Tampa, Florida
Hart Howerton, New York - commission for a US firm of architects
Laing O’Rourke, UK Head Office
Nordstroms, Vancouver, Canada
Ormer Mayfair, Michelin starred restaurant, London
Workshops & Speaking
Artist Marketing Workshop: One Day Workshop for Artists, London and Bath and by appointment (2015)
Ignite Your Art Career: One Day Workshop for Visual Artists, Los Angeles, CA (2011)
Excellent Artist, Excellent Teacher: A Workshop for Arts Educators, Arts Education Professional Development Series hosted by the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Francisco, CA (2009)
Top 10 Rules for the New Collector, ICB Gallery, Sausalito, CA (2008)
Understanding the World of Art Collectors, ICB Gallery, Sausalito, CA (2008)
The Art of Collecting, San Francisco Design Center, San Francisco, CA (2008)
Curator, Art at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills: Andy Moses, Suzan Woodruff, America Martin and Trudy Montgomery (2011)
Curator, Explorations of Memory: Paintings by Jeremy Morgan and Miya Ando, Citibank building, San Francisco, CA. Co-curator Jan Casey, Casey & Associates (2006)
Founded and ran Blue Tangerine Art, a boutique art advisory firm in San Francisco and Los Angeles (2005 - 2012)
Curated and produced, Abstraction Is Dead, Long Live Abstraction, San Francisco, a group exhibition of 11 California artists including Ed Moses, James Hayward, Jonathon Keats, Andy Moses, Mel Davis, Sieglinde Van Damme and Nicola Wood (2005)
Advisory role: The Energy of Self, Explorations into the Heart of Abstraction, group exhibition of abstract painting curated by Robin Child, Rosvik Collective, Marlborough, UK (2005)
Created and managed Color Abstraction, a juried exhibition of contemporary abstract painting by eight emerging artists in the San Francisco By Area. Guest jury panelists: Nora Kabat Dolan, former curator of exhibitions and public programs at SITE Santa Fe, NM and Julie Cashmere co-founder of aov, an alternative contemporary art space in San Francisco, CA (2004)