March 20, 2011

Bonnie Lucas: Collages, Exhibition at Esopus Space, NYC

Bonnie Lucas: Collages, Esopus Space, NYC, March 29 - May 3, 2011

bonnie_lucas_1Bonnie Lucas, Girl with Rabbit, 1994
Collage, 11" x 14",from "Bonnie Lucas: Collages" at Esopus Space, New York © Bonnie Lucas. Courtesy the artist and Esopus Space

BONNIE LUCAS received a bachelor’s degree in art history from Wellesley College in 1972 and an M.F.A. from Rutgers University in 1979. In the ensuing years, she has exhibited her work in one-person exhibitions at Leverett House at Harvard University, Avenue B Gallery, and Souyun Yi Gallery, as well as in numerous group shows throughout the U.S. Bonnie lucas has taught art since the mid-1990s at City College, CUNY, and has been a visiting artist in New York City public schools since 1998.

Over the past 35 years, Bonnie Lucas has built a compelling body of work, ranging from intimately scaled paintings to painstakingly constructed mixed-media assemblages, delving into social constructions of childhood, femininity, and domesticity. This exhibition, Bonnie Lucas’s first solo show in New York in over a decade, will focus on two series of collages by the artist—one from the 1990s and one from this past year—that evoke, in her words, the “sensual, beautiful delights and the strange pain of growing up a girl or boy.”

bonnie_lucas_2Bonnie Lucas, Maine Landscape, 1994-95
Collage, 10" x 8", from "Bonnie Lucas: Collages" at Esopus Space, New York, © Bonnie Lucas. Courtesy the artist and Esopus Space

Part figural, part abstract, Bonnie Lucas’s collages are built out of images from books or magazines and fragments of paintings and drawings by the artist as well as her students, and are often punctuated by objects such as thread, painted wooden skewers, and artifical flowers. Fueled by a fascination with—and clear attraction to—kitsch imagery and leavened with a dark sense of humor, Bonnie Lucas’s collages brilliantly employ sentimentalized representations of children and women to reveal their deeper psychological and ideological undercurrents. As critic Julie Caniglia wrote about the artist’s work in 1995, “As much as Lucas points to the violence and chaos swirling in the heads of little and big girls everywhere, she—in both product and process—also embodies their irrepressible curiosity, resilience, and ingenuity.”

Bonnie Lucas once remarked, “I always want to discover new ways of telling a story.” Viewed side by side, these two series, created nearly two decades apart, offer an unprecedented opportunity to chart Lucas’s formal and conceptual development while revealing the depth and consistency of her layered, borderline-obsessive vision of the dark continent of childhood.

Esopus Space, The Esopus Foundation Ltd.
Greenwich Village, New-York, NY 10012