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Internationally renowned local mixed media abstract artist, Tanya Bonello’s latest exhibition, an abstract series entitled “TRANSCEND”, was opened on Friday 27 January 2017 at Gallery 196Victoria, 196 Victoria Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. Tanya Bonello’s current series is the culmination of two years of intensive work where she delves into her interest in Space and Time.

This will be Bonello’s 8th public exhibition. Her paintings are held in private collections in Cape Town, Johannesburg, London, St. Laurent-Nouan, Warsaw, Milan, New York, San Francisco and Dubai.

A 1994 Ba (Fa) Graduate of Michaelis, University of Cape Town, Bonello works primarily with gypsum, gold and silver leaf, sand, linseed oil, oil paint and found objects. She draws her inspiration from History, Geology, Astronomy, Physics, Botany, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Art, and her daily life experiences.

Says Bonello of her latest body of work, “I continuously search for a greater understanding of who I am. My interest in Space and Time is an extension of this long and meandering journey, which begins with the self and extends outwards for as far as my imagination will allow. Astrophysicists speculate as to what lies beyond the edge of the observable Universe – the Great Unknown – the endless possibilities inspire me and motivate my reason for Being. Abstract art, for me, is a vessel towards this potential Infinity”.

Bonello’s former high school art teacher, Michael Grimley, opened the exhibition and described Bonello as the best conceptual abstract artist in South Africa. Grimley taught art at Camps Bay High School (where Bonello was a student) was a teacher trainer in the Waldorf School movement, and has a Master’s degree in Fine Arts majoring in Painting, Graphics, and the History of Art. He has also led many courses for adults using the Goethean artistic approach to colour and painting.Bonello says of her series, “The definition of Transcend is to be or go beyond the range or limits of a field of activity or conceptual sphere. To rise above, to surpass, to eclipse, to overcome limitations that are physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual.”

“As Galileo Galilei said, ‘The Philosophy (of Nature) is written in that great book which ever is before our eyes — I mean the universe — but we cannot understand it if we do not first learn the language and grasp the symbols in which it is written. The book is written in mathematical language, and the symbols are triangles, circles and other geometrical figures, without whose help it is impossible to comprehend a single word of it; without which one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth.’”

There are a number of recurrent threads interwoven into the body of Bonello’sPaintings, spanning decades of her art making process: the use of the material substances of Gypsum, oil paint and synthetic gold and silver leaf, and the thematic use of geometry and writing.

Bonello explains her choice of material and themes, “The Gypsum and synthetic gold and silver leaf by virtue of their nature will continue to transform or change – they are representative of the maxim ‘all is in a state of flux’.”

“The Geometry signifies that which we know- the fathomable, whilst the writing appears to be unfathomable as a known language, and as such is representative of that which we do not know or that which we cannot describe in words.”

“TRANSCEND” will be available for public viewing at Gallery 196Victoria, until 16 March 2017. This interesting space in the historic building at 196 Victoria Road is situated in the heart of the Woodstock district. The vision of 196Victoria is to add a wellbeing and creative oasis which will bring together the expertise of holistic healthcare practitioners with small independent and visionary businesses sharing a common interest and philosophy within a beautiful historical environment.

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