Bonita Bub - Looking for something casual, 2019 | at The Commercial, Sydney


It is with great pleasure that The Commercial presents Looking for something casual, an exhibition of new works by Sydney-based artist Bonita Bub.
Bub’s work marries key concerns of monochrome painting - acute attention to coloured surface coatings – with reinterpretation and refabrication of industrial objects. She is both painter (abstract) and sculptor (minimal). She extracts function from utilitarian design not by deliberately disabling it but through the amplification of considerations of luxury over utility in material selection and manufacture detailing. Similarly, colours are chosen from a chart of industry standards intended for protection, high visibility, identification and co-opted to her aesthetic palette.
Bub takes objects ordinarily produced with mass production processes into her own hands, slowing them down and investing them with singularity, her own skill, labour and sculptural acuity, permitting more abstract and more formal concepts – proportion, relation – to overtake the fabrication considerations (e.g. load support, material flexure) upon which her prototypes are founded. She reduces the engineering advantages of triangulation to pure geometric elegance with two large sequences of bracket forms and exploits an art gallery storage solution for its potential for pleasure-giving. Expectations around functionality and use value are displaced even though the objects still signify ‘function’ and ‘equipment’ (necessary item for particular purpose).
Working in an artistic tradition that is decidedly European (German, Austrian), Bub pulls from the cultural landscape. Included in the exhibition are coloured pencil drawings, studies that the artist creates during her period of research before entering the workshop/studio. The three drawings in the exhibition include support structures on the fire-devastated façade of a nearby pub and greenhouse tunnel structures from an Israeli moshav. Ideas of seriality, modularity, support.
Despite the resolutely high level of labour invested in her studio practice, Bub’s objects do no work. They are redefined within a libidinal economy of the artist’s devising where they exist devoid of ego and in a state of tightly-controlled expression.