Clarissa Bonet’s Somber Reconstructions Of The Urban Landscape

Clarissa Bonet

Clarissa Bonet Photography

Clarissa Bonet Photography 1

Everyone has a different perception of the city, to some it might feel luxurious and culturally rich, to others it might appear to be dirty and smelly, and to many natives, including Chicago based artist Clarissa Bonet, the city is this somber, anonymous, and emotionally charged space.

Bonet’s acclaimed on-going series, City Space, captures her personal perception of the urban landscape and its relationship to the ones that inhabit it.

“The Urban space is striking. Its tall and mysterious building, crowds of anonymous people, and endless seas of concrete constantly intrigue me,” the artist says.  

Her images are reconstructions of her perceptions/past experiences in the cityscape. Some may seem overly dramatic- as her play with lights and darks and muted colors, as she mentions in her artist statement on her website, are both visual strategies she is interested in working with.

On her artist statement, she also mentions that she reconstructs “the city as a stage to transform the physical space into a psychological one. The images […] do not represent a commonality of experience but instead prove a personal interpretation of the urban landscape.”

One of the most interesting elements in this body of work is her ability to transfer what would seem to be a mundane act on the streets to a scene that speaks of the human psyche, and emotion in general. Her subjects, most with their head down or covered, seem to purposely appear anonymous, giving the viewer a sense of them not being there, as they blend with the rest of the composition. Could this be cultural commentary/criticism on behalf of the artist? That is not out of the question, as these powerful and somber, yet beautiful images do make the viewer question contemporary living in the cityscape.

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