Seeing life as it is takes center stage at Take 2, a collaborative exhibit featuring art from John Bonner and Michele Bonner. The show combines powerful urban scenes captured on canvas by John with colorful fiber arts sculptures by Michelle.
John Bonner grew up in Suffolk, England and was influenced by local 19th century landscape painter, John Constable. John’s work reflects the realistic styles of the early and mid 20th century. What his work truly does, however, is document an intrigue with everyday life. His East Coast Commuters ($2,800) is a combination of two images of New England train riders, painted in acrylic on cradled panel. This arrangement conjures a distinct picture of the many kinds of people we see every day. It seems to ask what their story is.
One of John’s most evocative paintings is Riders of the Storm (oil on canvas; $3,800). A seemingly simple depiction of three Massachusetts buses parked in a lot, the detailed shading within the image creates intrigue. As with most of John’s pieces, it is a beautiful painting of an image we might ordinarily find common or even dirty.
Michele’s work runs the gamut from an embellished denim jacket arranged over a tutu skirt to a hanging sculpture made entirely of zippers, and a denim piano and bench cozy (arranged over the Arts Association’s gorgeous Stetson piano). Her most intriguing and unique pieces are the hanging fiber pieces on the walls: countless labels arranged in the pattern of a cowhide. These labels were collected from every article of her family’s clothing, as well as the Lifebridge thrift shop in Salem, Mass. Each of these pieces poses the question: What happens when you separate the label from the clothing and which carries the value? Through creative and distinctive means, Michele provokes meaningful thought.
Also intriguing are Michelle’s spheres, each covered in a found item: dog tags, empty thread spools, buttons, and, in one case, the many small animal figurines that can be found in Red Rose tea boxes. (Since her husband moved to the US, he has consumed huge quantities of Red Rose tea and collected the small animal figurine within each box.) Michele’s work reflects everyday life from a unique and creative perspective
Together, the two artists have created a fascinating, engaging exhibit depicting the vivacity, normality, and originality of everyday life.
Due to Michele’s involvement with Lifebridge, 25% of all proceeds will be donated to that organization.
Be sure to check out this exhibit, on display in the Ballroom gallery (third floor) at the Marblehead Arts Association from April 26 to June 8.
For those interested in the thought behind the work, John will be giving a Gallery talk on Saturday, May 3 at 2:00 p.m. Michele will present as the Artist in the Gallery on Saturday, June 7 at 1:00 p.m.