In June, 1999, Mendelsohn and her daughter, Rebekah, found a female mannequin at a yard sale. The seller asked $20, and when Mendelsohn replied that the mannequin was headless, the seller came down in price by $5.
Bekah, Bridgit, and Pam
© Peter Palmquist
Thus began an extraordinary series of adventures that Mendelsohn has been recording with lens and pen. "Bridgit (the mannequin) is a blank page," Mendelsohn explained recently. "She has none of the obvious trappings we associate with personality except that what there is of her arms is in a very triumphant pose. What is endlessly fascinating is the way in which people relate to her and how it is that she fits into situations. Having a master's degree in psychology and a background in counseling have been definite assets."
Getting To Know Felicity
San Francisco, 1999
© Pam Mendelsohn
Some of the places Bridgit has been and some of the people with whom she has posed: a scrap and salvage yard where the owner brought in what looked like Bridgit's cousin; the steps of St. Brigid's Cathedral with a man who chose to pose in a reverse Pieta; a mirrored stage in San Francisco's North Beach with two dancers; a sideshow act with a beautiful clown (above); a body piercing and tattoo parlor; with a patriarchal polygamist tree cutter; a three wheeler police cart with a police woman; among her 5,500 year old headless "sisters" on Malta (below); a hubcap store; a tuxedo rental store; the beach for the solstice; out to sea in the shadows of a wheel off a friend's wheelchair; with a monumental Grateful Dead "priest"; in a tree at an artists' colony in Totnes, England; with the proud owner of a 1932 Ford hotrod; among the Redwood giants (below); and inside the gigantic Comedy of Errors clock in the prop shop at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.
Bridgit and her 5,500 year old Ancestors
© Pam Mendelsohn
When asked to comment on her all-consuming involvement with Bridgit, Mendelsohn explained: "A friend recently said that my art form is actually about making connections. If that is so, then Bridgit has propelled me into performance art. The art form involves a totally engaging conduit, Bridgit. The tools include: an ability to engage and a strong desire to document the experiences through writing and photography."
Bridgit Among the Giants
Arcata Community Forest, 1999
© Pam Mendelsohn
Photographs of Bridgit have already appeared in five juried shows in 1999 and 2000:
the Thirteenth Annual Emeryville (California) Art Exhibition, put on by the Emeryville Celebration of the Arts, Inc.
Behind the Redwood Curtain: Women Photographers of Humboldt County, California 1850-2000 at Humboldt State University in Arcata, California
in Oklahoma City at the International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum
the Millennium Show at Gallery Dog in Eureka, California
the Redwood Art Association Show at the Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka, California
Other shows include:
Bridgit in Context at The Body Gallery in San Francisco, February - April, 2000
Body Language at Gallery Dog, Eureka, California in July 2000
Body Language Bucci's, Emeryville March 3 - April 6, 2001
Tiaras Optional! Morris Graves Museum, Eureka April 27 - May 27, 2001
Mendelsohn was the featured artist at Women In Photography April through June, 2000. The Bridgit photographs and vignettes are evolving into a book. Current and future exhibitions are listed here.
Bridgit in Malta
Bridgit at St. Brigid's
High Light: The Winter Solstice
Excursion to Primal Decor
Getting to Know Felicity
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