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Nov 13, 2018







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John Bonner art. Courtesy photo.




 “Streetwise” by John Bonner

Where: McGowan Fine Art, 2 Phenix Ave., Concord
When: On view now through July 27, with an opening reception on Friday, June 8, from 5 to 7 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and by appointment. 
More info: Visit mcgowanfineart.com or call 225-2515. To learn more about the artist, visit johnbonner.com.




Ordinary beauty
Exhibition features urban and suburban landscapes

06/07/18



 By Angie Sykeny 

asykeny@hippopress.com
 
The harbor and seaside vistas in Marblehead, Mass., have long been a source of inspiration for artists, but when painter John Bonner moved to the coastal town 20 years ago, he wasn’t interested in its conventional beauty. 
“I looked at the harbor and thought, there’s nothing for me to paint here. It’s a painting already,” he said. “I ended up painting pictures of everything but, like the graveyard and backs of houses … rather poignant glimpses of the sea through houses and backyards, gardens, backs of restaurants, individual trees.” 
Bonner has a solo exhibition, “Streetwise,” on view now through July 27 at McGowan Fine Art in Concord, featuring some of his most recently done oil paintings of urban and suburban scenery. 
One piece, “Hopper’s Hydrant,” depicts a lonely fire hydrant, black with a yellow cap, situated in front of a black building on a shadowy streetside. “The Last Pile of Snow” is a snow pile isolated on a street corner in front of a building, dwindling in the sunlight as a pedestrian walks by. Other subjects Bonner has painted include commuters maneuvering public transportation, construction workers, traffic lights, school and city buses, clusters of traffic, intersections and street crossings, fast food restaurants and cafes, storefronts and government buildings.  
“I don’t want to paint things that other people have painted,” Bonner said. “I like to paint things that are a part of people’s daily lives, that may be overlooked or taken for granted, that may be considered ugly by some people.” 
Bonner frequents areas in Boston like State Street, Congress Street, South Station, North Station and the Bulfinch Triangle, snapping photos at random or doing sketches onsite, from which he paints in his personal studio. The exact locations of many of the scenes he paints are indiscernible, he said, or may only be recognized by people who are very familiar with Boston. 
“If you go to a city that you don’t know, you’ll probably end up painting all of the most touristy spots, but I’m not interested in that,” he said. “I’ve spent most of my working life around Boston, and when you’re painting the place where you live, you know it in much more depth, and I think that shows in my paintings, and that people who have spent their lives in Boston can see that in my paintings.” 
Bonner, who is originally from England,  describes his artistic style as realist, with an “English sensibility” as it relates to his color palette, which is often subdued and authentically recreates the muted colors of an urban environment. 
His approach to painting, he said, is simply to follow in the long tradition of humans depicting their surroundings through art, going back as far as the early cave paintings. 
“As an artist, you can paint anything,” Bonner said. “It’s easier to paint a peaceful seascape or a boat than it is to try and find something interesting in things that are very commonplace, but I enjoy that challenge, and I enjoy going through that process.” 





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