THE JOY OF CREATION, THE FIRE, THE DEVOTION – GOTTHARD BONELL TURNS OUT TO BE PASSIONATELY OBSESSED WITH HIS ART. AUTHENTIC IN HIS APPROACH, A MASTER OF TECHNIQUE AND EXECUTION, INDIVIDUAL AND UNIVERSAL´IN HIS PERPLEXING, MANY-LAYERED PICTORIAL WORLDS.
His concern is nothing less than the great themes of life: sensuality and lust, the beauty and dread of our existence, transience and death. Bonell is a seeker, a man and artist who constantly questions himself and his work; someone who draws and paints with tremendous fervour to constantly rekindle his consciousness of life and his own self. In its great diversity, the comprehensive oeuvre of Bonell defies any brief summing up, and it would be a mistake to speak of a linear development of his art. Many things happen at the same time, the Artist keeps harking back to earlier series, keeps taking up motifs and styles from past years to give them a new interpretation.
Next to dissolving landscapes, he still creates romantic mountain ranges, and apart from faces with closed eyes, Bonell still paints old-masterly portraits of famous people. His well-spring of inspiration flows more and more copiously as the years go by. The visual arts seek to defy transience, to endure and have an effect beyond the present moment. This is probably also the intention behind Bonell’s paintings. His paintings speak of the yearning that keeps spurring artists on, the thought of being able to capture an idea in a picture, to create an image of human existence and thus escape its finite limitations. It is in this aspiration that the fundamental power of painting resides – a potential, which Bonell manages to tap a wonderfully captivating way. „Late Light“ written by Günther Oberhollenzer.
THE ARTIST’S DRAWINGS, WHICH HAVE BECOME INCREDIBLY REFINED AND COMPLEX IN THE LAST YEARS, CHIME WITH BONELL’S PERSONALITY, HIS OBSESSIVE GAZE WHICH INTERNALIZES REALITY AND OFTEN TRANSFORMS IT INTO A SURREAL AND AMBIGUOUS DESIGN. DRAWING IS THUS THE ARTISTIC MEDIUM CLOSEST TO HIS MOTIONS. HE NEVER TIRED OF DEVELOPING DIFFERENT AESTHETIC STRATEGIES WITH WHICH HE CHANGES HIS CONTENT. FORM AND CONTENT UNITE AND BECOME WHOLE.
His drawing style ranges from rigid linearity to the vaguely sketched lines, mixed techniques which use colourful markers and silk paper. In the recently drawn papers, he overlaps bodies and landscapes, and this dense network of thin, drawn out line is often reminiscent of Bonell’s Radierer. These lines create a web of landscaped bodies or, as Edith Schlocker says, a ‘lustful garden’ documenting a polymorph sexuality which awaken our senses and stimulate our creativity and Imagination.
Bonell approaches the combination of past and the tradition of art in two ways: he constantly studies it without ever falling into emulation, basing his research on the traditional great themes: portraits and nudes, still lifes and landscapes, which still are quite relevant to him, although he does give them his own interpretation. The dialectic of intelligence and emotion lives on in his work, reflecting a sensual, quasi nostalgic expression of reality. Here, the landscape becomes a body. These bodies (of things) are fertile, lively, but also document a process of death and decay. Today, he is one of the few portraitists who manages to pluck the tension ensuing between subject and artist and transform it into the source of his interpretation. The still lifes do, indeed, talk. In fact, Robert Mapplethorpe mused about how blossoms and fruit were to be seen as an Expression of the plant’s sexuality and Bonell shares his obsessive gaze, his erotic obsessions.
We experience a tension of sorts between calculating strokes (or a conscious acknowledgement of what art has just delivered) and an Explosion of feelings, an emotional high spirits of sorts, in the portraits of his friends, painters, writers, and musicians; however, that human element is also represented by a cool, distanced gaze, an engine of unrest, which we experience first and foremost in his drawings, the most direct and seismic expression of art. Intelligence and Emotion“ written by Peter Weiermair
Gotthard Bonell lebt und arbeitet in Südtirol (Italien). Er ist Maler, Zeichner, Radierer und Sänger. Bonell studierte an der Kunstlehranstalt St. Ulrich, sowie an den Kunstakademien von Venedig und Mailand, außerdem besuchte er die Sommerkurse an der internationalen Sommerakademie Salzburg, wo er auch als Assistent tätig war. 1983 absolvierte er ein Auslandsstipendium in Wien. Er begann 1985 das Gesangsstudium am Konservatorium Bozen. Seine Werke befinden sich in verschiedenen Privat- und Museumssammlungen.