Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bonny Leibowitz — DALLAS

My first interview with Bonny was October 29, 2012

Artist Bonny Leibowitz
Since then, she has begun working more dimensionally on an ambitious body of work that evolved from the Symbiosis series.

wood, wire, foam, mulberry bark, vinyl, acrylic, fibers, and tree
photo credit: Hal Samples

This new work, Plight of the Pleasure Pods, speaks to a range of emotions, fantasies, and complexity of human relationships. Leibowitz touches on the irony of impulse and order, consciousness and surprise, sexuality, aging and the rawness of life. So let’s ask Bonny a few questions to give some context to the work.

1. Can you share a bit about your path from your two-dimensional work last year, and the newer, three-dimensional work?

The Symbiosis series of works contained some pod like forms, photography of milkweed pods, which I was collaging large scale. The pods continued to fascinate me beyond the end of the series I and decided I’d like to explore them dimensionally.  I started out by creating “pod like” forms in plaster which began to take on human qualities.

Love Sandwich
fir wood, foam and acrylic

2. Can you speak about your references to the human psyche in this work?

Assisted Living, received its name, as did all the works in this series, as its persona appeared to me in its making. I’ve been collecting objects which have intrigued me for some time now and a large piece of burl wood was just one such object sitting on my “one day I’m going to do something with this” shelf. I was working on smashing up a plaster piece when a smooth shiny bowl like shape popped off and it instantly dawned on me to see what the big wrinkly burl wood would look like if I placed it on there. So I did, and the strong juxtaposition of youth and age became the paradox to explore. I painted the smooth plaster form pink, planted the burl wood form in it and teetered it up on a small piece of petrified wood and then the entire piece is sitting on a medical cart with surgical tubing hanging out of the drawer.

Assisted Living
burl wood, plaster, acrylic, petrified wood, medical cart and tubing
photo credit: Hal Samples

I’ve been thinking about age and how time has become so extraordinarily important, wanting to do and say all that can be done before I no longer have a chance to do so. Many feel this way of course, it’s universal, the desire for legacy and the doing.  Couple that passion with the natural erosion of the body and how we shift our focus while still holding onto sensuality and “beauty”, as bits slip away and you’ll find a rich dialogue to explore. Although these are serious matters, I enjoy the humor of it all and bring that element to the work in a big way.

The materials I chose to speak about these struggles and joys are plaster, foam, vinyl, acrylic, mulberry fibers, rawhide, faux fur, encaustic wax, and branches to name a few.   

Justice For All?
plaster, tree bark, acrylic, faux fur, hinge, metal and shellac

3. Do you have particular habits that you think support your art practice?

Owning two teaching studios keeps me very busy with teaching and organizing workshops etc so I commit myself to the studio at least a day and a half per week and often times work into the wee hours. I will sometimes break away in between classes to get a few things done. I’m fortunate my personal studio is a right behind my two teaching studios. In addition, I give myself a few weeks a year for some concentrated time, a chance to really think and let the ideas flow.    

Keeper of the Flame
plaster, wire, fiber, foam and acrylic
photo credit: Hal Samples

4. You mentioned that you moved into a new studio. Can you share a photo of it, and discuss how it may have affected your work?

It was completely serendipitous that the space behind my teaching studios became available just as I started working on large mixed media works last year.  Taking on the additional space was a bit scary financially but so far so good and I LOVE not having to take everything out and clean everything up before and after classes.  This body of work grew, in part, out of the time and space that allowed me to work large and see the work as a whole. 

5. Tell us about the talk and video you'll be producing and how you are tying the work into venues where it will take on a life of it's own?

I wanted to tie the work into a bigger, more far reaching endeavor. Seeing the pieces as archetypes, I decided to look for a writer from the Jung society here in Dallas to write and speak about the work and see where that connection might take the work. I went on the Jung Society of Dallas site to find yet another wonderful piece of serendipity. Listed on the site was one of my painting students, Donna Cozort, a Ph.D. analyst, Diplomate C.G.Jung Institute, Zurich. Since that time, Donna has been documenting her insights on the work and we’ll be doing a video of our gallery talk speaking on richness of meaning behind the works.  I have published a book containing the writings and images along with a review by Todd Camplin.

6. You seem to have given a lot of thought to planning for this show and potential future venues. What is your vision and why?  

I have made some connections already in L.A., Laguna and another space in Texas in the hopes of bringing the work to a wider audience. Those connections have been really exciting and it’s just the beginning. I will see where it all goes. My intent is a dialogue on how we reflect on our personal histories and the subject of aging which is often taboo. I love the aspect of humor as well, an aspect which is healing and binds us.  

Queen For A Day
23 x 12 x 12
foam, brass, acrylic, sheep fur, velvet and cast iron 

“Archetypes cannot be truly known, but we catch glimpses through images which take on symbolic significance when they become activated within our psyches. When this occurs, their dynamic energy fuels the different reactions, processes, and patterns that inspire and move us. Like all aspects of life, archetypes have two opposing poles or sides, one positive and the other negative, or we might say one is light while the other is dark, one good and one evil. As a Jungian Analyst, I have seen the tremendous power of archetypes both for destruction as well as for healing. Because of their universal significance, archetypes have the potential to startle, seduce, fascinate and even rule us. Sensuousness, pleasure and depth of experience are expounded in the Plight of the Pleasure Pods works”.
— Donna Cozort, Ph.D, Diplomate C.G.Jung Institute, Zurich

You can see this new work in “Pleasure Tempest”, at the Cohn Drennan Gallery, http://cohndrennancontemporary.com/  

Pleasure Tempest 
Bonny Leibowitz and Winter Rusiloski
Opening Reception November 23, 2013, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Exhibition Dates, November 23, 2013 – January 4, 2014

Bonny, Thank you and congratulations on the show!

And more of Bonny's work here: www.bonnyleibowitz.com

Thank you Lynette, for creating this platform. I appreciate your great questions the opportunity to share my experiences here. — Bonny


Gwendolyn Plunkett said...

Lynette, This was a wonderful thoughtful interview with Bonny. I really love the dimensional direction her work has taken. Edgy with a grand sense of humor. I find myself in some of her pieces and possibly others as well. Thanks for posting.

Gwendolyn Plunkett said...

Lynette, This was a wonderful thoughtful interview with Bonny. I really love the dimensional direction her work has taken. Edgy with a grand sense of humor. I find myself in some of her pieces and possibly others as well. Thanks for posting.

deborah kapoor said...

I was fortunate to see Bonny's process and expansion into full-blown 3-D works at her new studio space. I am impressed by her inventive exploration of contemporary materiality in such an original way. I also appreciate her ability to express the poignant range of human experience from drama to comedy. Thank you Lynette for a great article.

LynetteH said...

Gwen and Deborah, thanks for reading. Yes I find this new work very interesting!