Stroud-based artist Clare Bonnet graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Leeds University in 2004, which included a year studying painting at the Accademia di Belle Arte di Brera in Milan.
Clare’s intention in her work is to portray the truth of the female experience. “I am interested in repetition in womanhood – generational cycles, entrenched societal expectations, personal stories that link us all, the dualities of female identity and of how finely balanced those various roles are. In essence, the Narrative of Female, past, present and future.”
Her most recent body of work marks a shift in painting style and technique from a formal quality with bold, broad brushstrokes to freer, flatter forms, thinner paint and a focus on the expressive drawn line. The imposed confinement of lockdown and subsequent opening up of life again encouraged Clare to experiment, explore and play. The title of her current series of oil paintings speaks volumes: ‘FREE, BIG, JOY’. She describes these works as “gestural expressions of the female form reclaiming space in a ‘post’ Covid era”. Anonymous female figures stride, sway and dance against abstract backgrounds, painted predominantly in ultramarine.
As well as painting in oil on gesso panel, Clare is currently exploring painting on glass, alongside making monotypes (single prints), which she creates by transferring oil relief ink from a printing plate to archival paper. “These works are immediate, loose and incredibly enjoyable to make. I paint with a gestural approach, which creates lots of movement in each piece. The opportunity for experimentation is liberating and exciting!”.
Gala Fine Art has shown Clare’s work at Battersea Affordable Art Fair since 2016. In 2017 Clare was selected by the organisers to paint the portrait of the winner of their spring fair portrait competition. Clare frequently paints portraits for private clients and welcomes new commissions. Her work is widely exhibited at art fairs and gallery shows around the UK, including solo exhibitions at Sarah Wiseman Gallery in Oxford in 2018 and 2022, and group exhibitions there in 2020 and 2021. Her work was featured in the group show Show of Hands at the SVA John Street Gallery, Stroud, in December 2021, and in a two-person show at Sarah Wiseman Gallery in Oxford in autumn 2022. Gala Fine Art showed Clare’s paintings most recently at Battersea Affordable Art Fair in March 2023.