Artist and Photographer Susan Bonham displays her recent collection of Contemporary Abstract Photographic prints in the O3 Gallery. These form part of a larger series of contemporary abstract composite images that were inspired by her long-term fascination with texture and colour found in the built environment. The images are a natural progression from the large abstract canvasses Bonham has painted previously, drawing on grid structures. Bonham is particularly interested in the relationships that are formed between the individual ‘cells’ within a grid and how these elements affect a whole composition.
Oxford Born Susan Bonham moved to Reading where she obtained an honours degree in Fine Art and Education. She developed a keen interest in a form of abstration that drew influences from such disparate sources as: the rich of colour of Pierre Bonnard’s work, to Mark Boyle’s ‘Journey to the Surface of the Earth’ works. Howard Hodgkin’s work was, and remains, a strong influence that dates back to an exhibition at M.O.M.A. Oxford. Susan Bonham’s earlier work is represented by one canvas in this exhibition. At this stage, photographic records of found surfaces and textures, often in extreme close-up, would provide information for the painterly outcomes. Rich saturated colour, mark-making, surface pattern and a sense of balance and harmony were always prime concerns.
The advent of high quality digital photography has enabled Susan Bonham to use the camera and computer as a fresh and direct way of making her compositions, as an alternative to translating them into paint on canvas. The raw materials for these abstract artworks are invariably found in the built environment. These collections of found close-ups are then taken out of context and assembled into a grid structure of, typically, nine rectangles: each rectangle itself echoing the form of the whole. There is often movement and sharply defined detail in these ‘cells’ and each of them has intrinsic visual interest. It is always the balance of colour, form, and picture space in the whole composition that Susan Bonham is striving for. These photographic prints have no obvious narrative, nor are they documentary or concerned with people or objects, but meant as visually arresting and sumptuous assemblages.
In 2008 Susan Bonham has also exhibited her work at ‘The Gallery’ in Ilkley, Yorkshire.