Studio Visit: Bonny Leibowitz

Bonny Leibowitz is an artist based in Texas.  Her work can be seen in PLEAT's April 2016 exhibition as well as bonnyleibowitz.com.

You often work with a wide variety of materials and use them as a metaphor to address deeper concerns.  The works in this show were created with encaustic paint on Kozoshi paper. What is the significance of these materials to your underlying concept?
In this series of works, I used the concept of “Jardin”; the title of an exhibition I was invited to participate in by Steven Gavino at No. 4 Studio in Bushwick, NY along with a wonderful group of artists in December 2015. In recent years, having worked more 3-D mixed media; I used the opportunity to get back into my love for the physical act of painting. I chose the organic nature of encaustic paint for the joy of spontaneity, the high involvement of chance and the necessity to react as paint melts and moves on the heated surface. The paper I chose to paint on; Kozoshi paper, is from Japan, made from the kozo plant which also speaks to the organic qualities of the concept.

What inspires you and keeps you going back to the studio?
I always look forward to getting into the studio, but while away, I often come to realize exciting alternatives to address the many issues of works in progress. I’m most interested in seeing how the work will develop. I stay open to the “not knowing”. 

Additionally, I love exploring work online, going to exhibitions, reading articles and interviews and listening to podcasts. All of these things feed my practice.

What is the best piece of artistic advice you have ever received?
Well, perhaps the best advice was not advice at all but the mere suggestion of advice that caught my attention in a big way. Several years ago I was at a place with my work that was feeling too safe but I allowed fear to stop me from pushing all the way through what I considered boundaries at the time. I kept settling for tentative steps, a happy medium. I struggled with this for a few years, like a dirty secret, when an artist friend who had no idea of my conflicted feelings said “Your work could benefit by….” and that’s all I heard. I didn’t even really hear the advice; just that prologue and I fell apart. I knew I was being too safe and had to take the steps the work needed to truly progress. It was actually life changing. It showed me that while I may not know the answers; making the moves and taking the necessary risks toward greater authenticity was key in my development.