Lee Bonetcou

I am not sure how or why I never learned about this incredible artist when I was in art school and the more art I seem to "discover" on my own makes me more and more angry about the canon of art excluding and without  mention absolutely incredible women artists. But before I launch any further into a rant about the gaping holes in the canon of western art let's meet Lee Bontecou.

Lee Bontecou was a very successful artist in the late 1950's and the 1960's. She was represented by New York Galleries and her shows consistently sold out. Much of her work is in permanent collections in places like New York, Washington, Chicago, and San Francisco. She disappeared from the gallery world after her daughter was born, teaching at Brooklyn College and working in solitude and isolation for nearly thirty years. A retrospective of her work both the early sculptural work and her later works on paper was exhibited at the Hammer Museum in LA in 2003. The show later travelled to MOCA in San Francisco and to MOMA in New York in 2004.

In the early part of her career she worked mainly in sculpture creating massive pieces which project off the gallery wall toward the viewer. She combines traditional materials of painting, canvas and her pieces hang on the wall like a traditional painting but they are anything BUT traditional. Her pieces include welded and stitched canvas and hide which feel industrial and mechanical yet organic in a terrible haunting sort of way. Each piece contains at its centre a vortex completely void of light – literally a black hole.

She was greatly influences by the trauma of World War 2 and later by space exploration and the world of astronomy but she refuses to label herself or her work. It is very clear that she doesn't care what you think of her work and struggles against anyone who may try to define it.

Lee Bontecou just celebrated her 83 birthday and is still working away in her studio doing whatever the hell she pleases, no doubt. I will leave you with a quote that struck me as vital to understanding the creative process:

"[Drawing] can get your imagination moving and you can work from your inner world rather than always from the external world"

Soot Drawing 1958

 You read more about this incredibe artist and her work here and to see more of her work do a google image search or type her name into Pinterest

Have a look at her work and share your thoughts and comments below.


Rebecca Haines

These days Pinterest is serving as the best place for me to discover new artists who inspire my work. I have a number of "new" artists I'll be featuring this year so make sure to join the blog to stay tuned.

Rebecca Haines is as interested in animals as I am. She has lived and worked in Wyoming, Colorado California and New Mexico. Her work is an exploration of that moment when humans and animals meet. At that moment when Animals and humans share a space there is the potential to learn something if you can put down your iPhone camera and stop talking.

Haines work invites you to look more closely, to stop and meditate on the moment of interaction with a wild animal so that you might be able to activate that memory of wild in your own DNA and connect with the natural world from which we have so neatly excised ourselves.

Take some time to really look at the shifting image and delicate subtleties of her work and you might come away with a moment of understanding.

You can see her work here or visit the Tom Ross Gallery.