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Tanya Bonello

South Africa 1972 - 

Tanya Bonello b.1972, South Africa Ba (Fa) Graduated 1994 Michaelis, University of Cape Town

“In my work I try to bring to the fore a memory of our collective consciousness through the use of a universal language that is ancient and true and understood by everyone. A language which is beyond words and cultural differences. The geometrical forms of the circle, square, triangle and grid are vehicles towards this universal understanding and as such these timeless shapes operate as a unifying force reminding us that we are all One. Everything is interconnected.

Ashraf Jamal: “In a world in chaos, we long for certainty, balance, proportion, grace. Looking at Tanya Bonello’s works it is the consolation which benign forms afford that is uppermost. Bonello seeks to ‘see’, intimate, decipher, and invoke the restorative powers of symmetry. For in the midst of chaos, she knows, and senses, the power of coherent design, sacred geometry. The material the artist uses - gypsum and oil on board, Dutch gold leaf - are the elements of an alchemical process. Bonello does not make art, she spirits it into being. Making is a ‘personal gnosis’. Her focus is exacting and elusive - Bonello is compelled by that which is inscrutable, vital, absolute, transfiguring. The work itself possesses an auratic allure, some intangible-yet-tangible mystery, the trace perhaps of some secret parchment intercut with definable-yet-indefinable patterns and forms. One must look ... sense ... intuit. We are caught in ‘a network of intimacy’ as beautifully simple and complex as a ‘honeycomb ... snowflake ... the neural networks of our brains. …

If it is the life force of things, the spirit that lives in matter, which returns as we look at Bonello’s work, it is because she returns us to all we have abandoned. If matter matters, it is because it is the face of the sacred. If one looks long and hard enough patterns emerge, coherence concretes - and thus one is lulled, becalmed, appeased. ‘The number one and the circle are the foundation for every other number and shape’, Bonello notes, ‘They are the bedrock upon which all else is built’. But when the ‘bedrock’ has been fracked, divine order squandered? What then? How does one piece together the shattered fragments of our lives? This is the burning question that courses through works scored in glimmering gold. I am reminded of the words of the mystical sculptor, Anish Kapoor: ‘We are ... religious beings, and religion doesn’t ... have to be doctrinal. It can also be about a kind of symbolic continuum that life and all its tragedy seem to keep throwing up. And art finds ways of pointing at that’. This tragedy is ours, but so is grace. Bonello has found her way to help us - to see the world.

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Tanya Bonello; Fluxion
24 Oct 2022