Dwarka Bonner at Magpie August 4-30, 2018
Reception with the artist: Saturday, August 11th 5-7pm
The majority of solo exhibits at magpie this season are focused on representing artists with a lot of skill and not enough representation. Bonner is a talented plein air painter and has recently gained recognition as a printmaker as well. This show will be a retrospective of sorts, showcasing his talent in various mediums.
From the artist: "A lifetime of paintings and prints...or part of a lifetime. I haven't painted all through this span of years. I haven't painted every day nor every month, but every year perhaps. There have been prolonged creative periods. The first was when I left home after finishing high school. Previously I had painted alongside a few friends, encouraged by my neighbor, who paints to this day, Ann Hogle. We learned to paint fast, thick, and up to the elbows. What began as a weekly class coalesced into our own sort of teenage Bay Area Figurative art movement. Then I went off traveling, turned 18, and rented an apartment overlooking the Venetian harbor of Chania, Crete. I painted the views from my rooftop, from my windows, painted local people who I coerced to sit for me, then moved to a village and painted scenes of the immediate bucolic vicinity. All this was in oil on canvas and painted on-the-spot, at the time, from direct observation. I liked the compositional aspect, not contriving a composition but selecting one, looking through my fingers as a viewfinder, and then beginning, often without even a rough preliminary sketch. More and more this is what starting a painting became: a line, an area, a color, a shape, another shape, as gradually the view became evident (and all the while the light and shadows shifted). I have often thought that any composition can be painted so as to be 'good', that is, beautiful or effective, balanced or interesting, complete. It is the treatment that makes a composition work. Ever after the first time I painted in Ann Hogle's studio, painting her as she sat for us, with a cerulean face - ever since then I have aimed at faithful color. Mixing from singular pigments, trying to reproduce what I see, adjusting colors continually. As the changing light will put a stop to a session, similarly the muddying of paint, palette and brushes will abruptly call a halt for housekeeping. After Greece I didn't paint much for some years, not until my life began to dry up around me. As everything else failed, I turned back to the one thing I carried within me that I did best and that provided the fulfillment of exploration and discovery, painting. I painted for a time in the Gila and it was invigorating. Painting outdoors in the wind, on large canvases is a unique challenge and I have always enjoyed challenges while painting. For example, painting onto a wet ground of some contrasting color while attempting to remain true to the hues of the subject. But this came later, experimenting with gel medium in Taos. For the past 15 years I've done nothing much else of note than painting and printmaking, chasing the joy that has grown since I was a small child."
Dwarka Bonner, born in Palo Alto, CA in 1949, was immersed in the sensibility of the Bay Area Figurative Movement from an early age. From 1963 to 1967 he painted in the studio of acclaimed figurative and landscape painter Ann Hogle, learning from her to observe the elemental aspect of a subject – usually a figure – closely and to analyze paintings in progress on the strength of abstract qualities. Painting independently since then, the dialog between objective representation of colors and shapes and aesthetic pleasure inherent in materials and composition has remained a central theme in Bonner’s work. His process is directly observed and painted in oils on sight.