Gun Show Artist Talk

@lovelandmuseum Her exhibit "Gun Show" stemmed from her father’s comparison between their contrary relationships to guns and the arts. In January Bonnie gave an artist talk from the gallery on Zoom. It is broken up into smaller videos because of size limitations. Total 55 min.

View complete Artist Talk video here.

#bonnielebesch #gunshowstitched #artexhibitions 

GUN SHOW: Loveland Museum, Fall 2020

503  N. Lincoln Avenue
Loveland, CO 80537

November 2020 - January 2021

Artist will be in attendance:
• Night on the Town, November 13, 5-8pm
• Night on the Town, December 11, 5-8pm
• Night on the Town, January 8, 5-8pm
or by appointment. Additional events to be announced.

The Loveland Museum/Gallery presents this premier exhibition by Bonnie Lebesch. The GUN SHOW is a collection of 18 hand-stitched and constructed objects that tell personal, historical, and contemporary gun stories.

Rocky Mountain Biennial / Museum of Art Fort Collins

The all media Rocky Mountain Biennial, organized by the Museum of Art Fort Collins, presents a diverse look into contemporary artwork in the Intermountain West, showing artists residing in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah.

Leah Ollman, juror
Leah Ollman has been writing criticism and features about art for the Los Angeles Times since 1987, and has served as Corresponding Editor for Art in America since 1997.

Exhibition Dates: July 31 - September 20, 2020

Variation B/5, 2020

Artist's Statement

It is impossible to know anything for certain, because everything is relative, interactive, and in flux. Our perceptions are personal and fleeting, our memories fractured in detail and in the time-space continuum. To observe a still object is an unfolding experience based on how we choose to explore it, and how we re-member it.

I experience these shifts on a daily basis. A work of art cannot possibly express just one thought or direction. Tangents grow from each action in the art-making process, ripe with possibility, connections to the past and future. Your current thought, in a snapshot, would consist of many pieces.

This series of fractured and constructed paintings are one possible snapshot of that every-shifting chaotic experience in a physical, mental, energetic universe.

2020 VOTE / Loveland Art Museum

For this nationally juried call, artists were encouraged to submit work related to the history of women’s suffrage, the visionaries of that time, and/or the continued quest for voting equality.

Nice, 2019

The Wife, 2019

3 Square Art Exhibition / Abstract-Non-Objective 2020

Bonnie Lebesch - Gold “Variation A/15”
Sergio Nates - Silver “Deconstruction #71”
Todd Brugman - Bronze “Automatic Gravity”
Jupp Soetebier - Honorable Mention “Wise would seem the breaker of rings if he would eat the gleaming heart”
Lili Francuz - Honorable Mention “Polarity”

I hope the audience and participants for this exhibition might forgive the length of this statement in favor of what might be an opportunity to nurture additional discourse and reflection about the subject of Non-Objective Abstract Art.

More than a century of art, literature and scientific inquiry, has provoked BIG questions about our understanding of what the physical universe is… and what Art is - even in very basic, concrete and everyday terms. The sciences have insistently offered us, ongoing, inconvenient but irrefutable proofs of Evolution, Quantum, Relativity, Entropy, Chaos Theory and many other interrelated paradigm constructs. I would argue that these proofs carry profound implications in how we are allowed to think about meaning in our lives, in our beliefs, politics, priorities and our art. Non-Objective Art was one of the most forceful artistic expressions of the many radical 20th Century ideas, leading us to the present.

Yet, we often still cling to static, empirical notions of time, perception, space, physicality, gravity and other elemental measures of our relationship to nature and society. Our current (too widespread) deficit of understanding, about these established proofs and their implications for our art and perception, makes this exhibition especially timely. It invites us to reacquaint ourselves with our own intellectual history. Non-Objective Abstract Art (NOOBAA) was – and is – a vital part of that unfolding story.

What, then, are the implications in the great discoveries of the 20th and 21st Century that are important, especially for Non-Objective artists to understand? Obviously, it would be impossible to provide a full list with explanations in a statement such as this. So, I offer a few propositions that underlie the development of Non-Objective Art with little but the sparest reasoning. I list them in the hope that they might prompt further conversation, dedicated inquiry and illuminate some of my criteria for the exhibition selection process as follows:

1.     The Realities of Nature and the humanly observed physical world are not equivalent. Reality is best understood (and observed conceptually), by researching the most primary and elemental (mathematical?) phenomena of nature. Over the decades, this applied (Scientific) process has proven nature to be highly counter-intuitive. Hence, by extension, art too - if it was to be consistent and honest - was required to investigate the most elemental visual qualities and interactions of line, shape, color, context, etc., in order to visually explore and describe a world governed by those same scientific or parallel, principles and natural laws.

2.     All things are relative and interactive, even time, space, mass (gravity), and our perceptions of them. Another way of saying this is: Everything is embedded in the fabric of a “Time-Space Continuum”.  And further, that, in nature at least, there is no constancy and no hierarchy of significance

Because we have found the universe to be vast and deep beyond our technological and existential ability to know it, mystery is a primary condition of human experience and our relationship to all things. Thus, nature’s macro- and micro-cosmic limits carry humbling implications into our everyday lives as well. As Marcel Duchamp, an artist of influence far beyond his own time, once quipped: “Even when it comes to the still-life on the table, we don’t know the half-of-it”. Therefore, too, ultimate meaning and purpose is uncertain and implicitly unknowable. (See the book: Pictures of Nothing by Kirk Varnedoe, Princeton U. Press.) Consequently, the sensation of mystery is a common, thematic presence in non-objective art.

3.     We can never be outside of the “reality matrix” that we are bound in and can observe only from within. So, while practical, the frame is a somewhat obsolete, and largely misinformative device for descriptively encrypting the true nature of things. In non-objective painting, for example, size is often greatly increased so-as-to become a visual field that psychologically surrounds the viewer rather than a frame or window that he or she looks through, into a separate, objectified and disconnected, pictorial space. This understanding also requires new art to function more as an object of direct experience rather than one that explicitly re-presents other external objects and events, as such. Note: I argue that this does not necessarily invalidate representational art per se, but it does impose new principles and thinking on how “content” can be constructed, presented, framed and understood.

4.     Psychology has shown us that our capacity for memory, self-observation and thought, even at their best, is greatly limited in contrast to the vast complexity of time and ongoing circumstances. Hence, our fragile understanding and grasp of the world’s events and things is, by nature, often highly random, fragmented and incomplete (though we may feel about it as quite the opposite). We see this sense of Fragmentation and Incompleteness as reoccurring compositional themes in NOOBAA.

5.     “Chaos” and “Chance” are the primary and overriding conditions of nature, not “Order”. These more recently understood phenomena (See Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick, Penguin Books) have emerged in direct contrast to 19th Century Enlightenment notions of order as the underlying principal of nature. While the concept of “Order” was not negated by Chaos Theory, it did re-circumscribe it within a larger cosmological context. This aspect applies more broadly to the other propositions as well.

This, of course, is a “Short List” of concepts that played a role in my selections for this Exhibition; there are a number of others and some that simply relate to “Quality of Execution,” “Originality’” “Vision,” “Expressive Sensitivity” and so on. And no one should take the above criteria too literally. An orderly composition in a painting, for example, does not necessarily imply an orderly condition in the world. You will see, too, that a few selected works do not, strictly speaking, fall into the category of NOOBAA. But, while more peripheral, they simply were compelling, expressively consistent and strong enough, as works in themselves, to not be excluded. And finally, I mention a work that clearly violates the technical assumptions of Non-Objective work. I’m speaking, of course, about the “Golden City”, the gold computer “Mother Board” assemblage with small cars and other miniature objects.  Yes, it is referential (to various concrete things). But in the larger sense it is much more a dynamic reference to a new pseudo-spatial reality in which we all find ourselves; that of cyberspace. I include it because, to that extent, I think the artist is onto something here. And most all the work submitted was worthy of artistic merit, so it was a great pleasure to see the sheer scope and achievement of the participants. 

David Reif

Exhibit: Artworks Loveland Studio Artist Survey

Exhibition Dates: August 9 - September 28, 2019
Artworks Loveland
310 N. Railroad Avenue, Loveland, CO 80537

Stitched Painting by Bonnie Lebesch
Recently I've been combining the worlds of painting
and stitching into one extra large wall piece. It's an
ongoing experiment that's on view in my studio
during public events.
Participating Artists:
  • Abbie R. Powers
  • Ana Maria Botero
  • Amy Vialpando
  • Andrew Svedlow
  • Audrey Mantooth
  • Becky Hawley
  • Bob Campagana
  • Bonnie Lebesch
  • Chuck Brenton
  • gmark
  • Jan R. Carson
  • J.C. Milner
  • Jennifer Davey
  • Jennifer Ivanovic
  • Jennie Kiessling
  • Joe Norman
  • Kristeen Harmon
  • Mackenzie Iddings
  • Madeline Wilson
  • Robert Sarach
  • Michael Anthony Simon
  • Ronda Stone
  • Sarah LaBarre
  • Sharon Carlisle
  • Sylvia Eichmann-Sueess
  • Veronica Patterson

Exhibit: Arvada Center - Art of the State 2019

I'm beyond excited to reveal a new body of work during the Arvada Center for the Arts' Art of the State 2019 Exhibition. "The Arvada Center is proud to present Art of the State 2019 , the latest installment in our critically acclaimed Colorado artist exhibition. This juried exhibition showcases the quality, depth, and diversity of Colorado artists and is the follow-up to the very successful Art of the State 2013 , and Art of the State 2016. In its third iteration, Art of the State 2019 garnered 1,555 entries from 566 artists in a call for entry that was open to all Colorado artists utilizing all media. Jurors selected 154 pieces by 135 Colorado artists to be presented at the Arvada Center. With three art galleries covering over 10,000 square feet, the Center looks forward to hosting this immense celebration of local art in Colorado."

Press Coverage
I'm honored to have my piece featured in several show reviews.
• Ray Rinaldi, The Know, Denver Post
• Cori Anderson, 303 Magazine

Installation view with work by Terry Maker and 
Nicole Banowetz in the background.
January 17 - March 31, 2019
Main, Upper, and Theatre Galleries
Free and open to the public

Arvada Center
6901 Wadsworth Blvd. Arvada, CO 80003
Art of the State 2019

In the Arvada show I'm introducing the GUN SHOW series that includes all hand-stitched objects.

Follow the M16 Body Pillow at the Art of the State on Instagram: gunshowstitched