In this new series the artist Bonco resumes his ongoing enquiry with a slightly shifted style. His practice has long been an introspective pursuit, one of self discovery through painting. Central to the human condition is the need to explore our sense of place and purpose in the world and this inward-facing reflection marks the artist’s work. Bonco’s practice is deeply personal, about asking questions and uncovering truths, a “slow, meditative process to know ourselves in a truer sense”. Star Stare Start advances Bronco’s practice by retreating from much of the compositional and theoretical layering characteristic of his last body of work. Some of the paintings in this new exhibition at Starkwhite are extremely subtle, others more obvious. However, all reward close looking and an attention that matches the artist’s durational approach to their making.
Created with a limited palette and repetition of form this new series takes a deliberate and considered approach, one at odds with the noise and urgency of the critical times in which we live. In an environment where social media and advertising shout at us while we attempt to navigate a landscape of climate crisis, post-pandemic life, politics, and increasing social and economic instability, Bonco’s aesthetic approach of focus and reduction offers a locus for calm reflection. While exploring a singular piece is satisfying, what makes this installation unique is the dialogue between all four works when viewed together. At first glance the paintings offer an immediate illusionary gratification thanks to their Op-art references, but beyond surface thrills lie richer rewards for those willing to look more deeply. The titles of each painting give the viewer a clue to what they could discover: the star clusters of Pisces, Leo, Sagittarius, and Virgo. Showing themselves slowly and over time, these constellations mimic the experience of searching for stars in the night sky. Urging us to pause, look up, and look carefully, they ask us to offer our time as they reveal themselves.
Working within a tightly controlled set of colours – only two to each art work – and the repetition of simple forms Bonco explores the tension of possibility and reduction. This body of work finds freedom within structure, the haphazard giving way to the carefully chosen. Is it a radical act to exercise such economy when a full spectrum of colours and unlimited choices are possible, when expectations to do more, be more abound? Pared back, this body of work distills Bonco’s practice, leaving behind a calm and quiet echoing that of the night sky. While the repetition of line and space are meditative and there is a near obsessive quality to the work there is also an intentional irregularity that only hand-drawn lines and form can provide. At first glance the squares look mechanical, but stepping closer reveals natural flaws and the humanity of Bonco’s marks, each hand drawn and secure in its human imperfection. Choosing to explore the infinite possibilities within reduction Bonco offers complex works that unfurl on multiple subtle levels.