William Holman Gallery presents the debut New York solo exhibition of Australian artist Peter Bonner, open November 29 through December 28. The third monthly exhibition since the gallery opened its doors on the Lower East Side this fall, Bonner’s Louvre includes both large and small paintings focused on themes of memory, perception, and narrative. The works in Louvre are the culmination of the artist’s many years spent living and studying in environments that could be seen as extremes, ranging from the densely cosmopolitan (New York, London, Madrid, Moscow) to the very remote deserts of Australia and the American Southwest.
Bonner’s paintings are densely layered surfaces depicting imagery that often alludes to a figural presence and are infused with rich patterning, reflecting a working method that is high-risk and process-oriented. Bonner draws obsessively as he works so that he remains connected to what is emerging on the surface. Of his process, Bonner says, “I make work with primordial intentions, working instinctively at each stage with the goal of knowing experience…I lay my surfaces flat when I work, often sitting with the work on the floor. I listen to what comes by attempting to discipline myself to remain in the moment, attentive to what is happening on the surface.”
Bonner’s paintings are made of an invented language that is metaphoric about what memory means in the present. Decoding these meanings is a process which has an intrinsic eloquence and beauty to it. On perception, Bonner writes, “Each moment is a complex mix of many ingredients. The weight of the space, the feeling of light and air, the tensions, difficulties and joys that are part of every relationship, memories of other experiences in other places and times. We bring our past with us wherever we go. The past affects the present moment. I have devoted myself to trying to see that moment in order to make imagery out of the complex narratives that are our lives.” Bonner’s imagery is “that moment” re-lived through the paint.
Gallery owner, William Holman states, “Peter Bonner is an intense large scale painter of memory, light and life. The works in Louvre are a breakthrough and confirm the persistence of painting on a grand scale as an essential part of connoisseurship.”
Born in Brisbane, Australia, as a young adult Bonner traveled abroad to see the world and pursue his passion for drawing and painting before returning to Melbourne to complete his undergraduate studies in fine art. As a finalist for the Wynn Prize, Australia’s most prestigious landscape painting award, he earned recognition for his work and was subsequently awarded a scholarship enabling him to pursue post-graduate studies at The New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. After a decade of living and working in New York, Bonner recently returned to Melbourne and in 2010 completed his masters degree at Monash University.
Bonner’s work is included in the collections of the Victorian State Library and Monash University in Melbourne, the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, as well as private and corporate collections in New York City, Wilmington, and Brisbane.