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. Since graduating Clare has carried out her artistic practice alongside teaching fine art.
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 latest 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 drawn line. The imposed confinement of lockdown and subsequent opening up of life again has clearly 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 sit, stand and dance in interior scenes suggested by geometric blocks of colour in a limited yet confident palette.
As well as oil paintings on panel, Clare is currently working on a series of joyful and loose ultramarine monotypes (single prints) of female figures, which she creates by transferring oil relief ink from a printing plate to archival paper. “The monotype process is a new discovery for me. The results are all one-offs. It really suits a gestural approach and allows lots of movement in each piece. The opportunity for experimentation is liberating and exciting!”.
In 2017 Clare was selected by the Affordable Art Fair Battersea team to paint the portrait of the winner of their spring fair portrait competition. She 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 group exhibitions at Sarah Wiseman Gallery in Oxford in 2021 and 2020 and a solo exhibition Flux there in 2018. Her work was featured in the group show Show of Hands at the SVA John Street Gallery, Stroud, in December 2021 and will be at Battersea Affordable Art Fair with Gala Fine Art in March 2022.