James Pridgeon

Contact:

Studio: 117

About:

As one of the original artists in Building 11 who advocated and worked for development of dedicated arts space in the Park (along with many many others), Building 30 represents not a culmination but a beginning positive step towards appropriate representation of the arts and artists at Magnuson Park and in NE Seattle. It also means having professional artists as neighbors and, as a result, a community of people with shared interests and interesting personalities.

 

I have no formal arts training which I consider both benefit and liability but mostly a reflection of early-life decisions necessitating a predictable income. I’ve sustained my work through a parallel career in neuroscience medical research administration. As a result, I have been privileged to support dozens of research grants including brain injury research in Latin America as Co-Investigator on NIH awards, and have co-taught Art and the Brain classes at UW Bothell with UW Neuroscientists. I have supplemented 45 museum exhibitions including one-person shows in New York (Franklin Furnace), San Francisco (Exploratorium), Portland (PCVA), Boise, Salt Lake City, and Seattle (SAM), with 12 national, state or local fellowships/public commissions from the NEA, NASA, Art Matters, Seattle Arts Commission (Seattle Artists), 4Culture, and Arts WA. This has preserved my independence and allowed me to experiment without regard to current trends. In addition to an art-neuroscience focus, my art-science interest is manifest through a NASA award to survey artist’s interest in the Space Station Program, and 1990 Seattle Goodwill Games support to launch a low-earth orbiting sculpture visible from the ground (a USSR launch agreement and dedicated SS-20 booster were secured but satellite funding could not be completed in time).

 

On a personal level, I was born in Nashville TN and lived in Bastrop, LA before my father became a school principal in Chula Vista, CA. Formative influences included my family’s Route 66 travels from CA to Oklahoma City to stay every summer with my grandparents. They had lost their farm in the Dust Bowl and my Grandmother worked at Woolworth’s five-and-dime, and my Grandfather as a small-time junk man and hauler/recycler to make ends meet. I admired them greatly and developed a life-long interest in found objects working with my Grandfather. I attended Stanford University (BA) and the University of Minnesota (MHA) and hold a non-clinical faculty appointment at the University of Washington as a Senior Lecturer Emeritus of Neurological Surgery.

I’m interested in multi-level works that engage viewers with physical phenomenon and encourage development of a narrative around the installation or image presented. Interactions between the work and the environment surrounding it, including viewer’s experience, exploit the idea of embodied cognition leading to increased attention and exploration of the evidence on offer. This experience is heightened by use of common found objects in unusual and counterintuitive situations and the idea of defamiliarization to overcome automatic responses and assumptions about what we see. We are a pattern-seeking, finding, and making species and these artworks seek to encourage and engage that hard-wired cognitive paradigm/phenomenon.

 

I think I am the only artist in Seattle who does not have a website, but I am working on it. The Current COVID-19 epidemic will last for the next 18-24 months and probably result in my turning more toward virtual presentation of works.