Portraits from the New Age

Artist Statement

Self-identity is a complex mixture influenced by many factors.  Much of our self-identity is relevant to the the social context we are a part of.  Social expectations are strong.  Yet archetypal human nature is inate to our spirit.  The human spirit needs the freedom to express itself in order to thrive.  A society’s definition of who they need to be is reinforced by ideas of security, self-worth, materialism, competition, and the status quo. Discovering who we are involves listening to many voices, from within and from the world around us. As we strive for balance, we better learn how to live in ways that are symbiotic with the world in which we are reflected.

In this series, mud represents the voice of our original primal nature. The clothing is a uniform that defines a social role.  This particular representation of the flesh also carries with it feelings of physical deterioration, even decomposition.  Sometimes the roles we are forced into do not nurture our human psyche.

These images ask the question “What is the process that forms our individual self identity within a given social structure?”; At what cost do we contribute to our society?;  In what ways is our self-identity based on the contributions we make to our society?  They speak of the process we go through to find an identity within our social system and the continuing process of rededining that role.

Passage from an Untold Fairy Tale

Passage from an Untold Fairy Tale / center image: lacquered silver print,selectively dyed and bleached / frame: oil painted with plaster casts of models hands and painted, plastered frogs

Installation


Related Work

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The Japanese

The Forest

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Copyright John Bonath 2019