Louise Bonnet’s portraits serve as emotional allegories through which the artist explores feelings of melancholy, loneliness, and nostalgia with a pervasive sense of absurdity and wit. Bonnet’s ambiguously gendered figures draw on a range of sources, from Old Master painting and Surrealism to movies and underground comics. These characters are exaggerated by the artist’s extreme distortions of scale and burst with tension against the frameworks designed to contain them. Brought to life through skillful chiaroscuro and a discerning sense of physicality, Bonnet’s bodies are pushed to their limits as bulbous limbs swell, extend, and fold upon themselves in impossible positions. The characters, sometimes occupying domestic spaces or uncomfortably navigating extraordinary circumstances, are usually depicted as diminished in capacity, but still give a sense of the monumental.
Louise Bonnet (b. 1970 in Geneva, Switzerland; lives and works in Los Angeles) has been exhibited in recent solo exhibitions at Gagosian Gallery, New York, Galerie Max Hetzler, London and Berlin; and Half Gallery, New York. Bonnet’s work has also been included in group exhibitions at Almine Rech Gallery, New York; Anton Kern Gallery, New York; and König Galerie, Berlin. Her work is represented in the permanent collections of the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.