Photographs by clarissa bonet
lecture and reception sept. 12
JULY 16 - SEPTEMBER 28, 2019
Clarissa Bonet is an artist based in Chicago whose work explores issues of the urban space in both a physical and psychological context. She holds an MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, a BS in Photography from the University of Central Florida, and an AS in Photography from Daytona State College.
Bonet’s work has been exhibited at the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Aperture Foundation, Magenta Foundation, and Catherine Edelman Gallery.
Her work has been published in The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, CNN Photo, Chicago Magazine, Harpers Bizarre, Juxtapoz, Aint-Bad, The Eye of Photography, Photo District News, and many other publications both nationally and internationally.
Bonet’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Southeast Museum of Photography, Haggerty Museum of Art, University Club Chicago, and the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection.
city space statement
City Space is about my understanding and connection to the urban environment. I draw upon personal observations to create images that deconstruct the urban experience, looking at scale, pedestrianism, anonymity, public space, and anxiety. I use stark light, deep shadow, and muted color as visual strategies to portray the essence of pedestrian life at the city’s center—a transitory space in which the masses convene for brief moments of time.
I borrow from the genre and practice of street photography, expanding what it means to make work on, and of, the street. By constructing images based on the psychologicalimpact of personal experiences and chance encounters in the city, I complicate the tradition of street photography, conceptualizing the city experience, instead, as mysterious, monumental, fragmented, overwhelming, or magical.
City Space is an ongoing series, started more than eight years ago in Chicago, where I live. The work functions as a metaphor for life in flux in the modern city. As we become a global society, the population is shifting from suburban and rural landscapes to urban centers. As a transplant to the city, I know that this shift can be fraught with mixed emotions. By pointing to the mundane yet powerful moments of a pedestrian’s commute, I ask the viewer to reference their own experience and perhaps change the way in which they see and navigate space.
stray light statement
Building facades melt into darkness, their architectural details vanish, leaving only glowing windows in a sea of pitch black, like stars in the night sky.
Stray Light is an ongoing photographic project aimed at imaging the nocturnal urban landscape. We have all but lost the night for our progress. In its place we have formed a new cosmos, one of vanished surfaces and flecks of light. Carefully constructing each image from multiple photographs, I reform the urban landscape in my own vision - one that seeks to reconstruct the heavens in its absence above the cityscape. Light emanating from each window references a world unknown, evoking a sense of mystery and awe. We no longer look up to the night’s sky with awe. Instead, that is how we look out at the city.
This project is partially supported by an Individual Artist Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, as well as a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.